The Tablet vs. Smartphone Shopping Revolution

by Net Future Institute on April 30, 2013

By Chuck Martin

Retailers may want to be a bit careful about how to deal with the alleged tablet commerce revolution.

Two new studies point to the rise of tablet commerce, with smartphone shopping seemingly fading into the shadows.

Some mobile shopping findings in the State of Mobile Benchmark Study by Adobe, based on mobile shopping statistics culled from more than 500 retailers’ websites, indicate that the tablet is the mobile purchase device of choice.

The study found that online shoppers are three times more likely to make a purchase when shopping with a tablet rather than with a smartphone.

separate study by eMarketer found that mobile commerce is actually increasing the size of the online purchasing market, with 15% of online sales this year coming from mobile devices.

Tablets rule in that study as well, with 63% of tablet owners making at least one purchase from that device, compared to 39% of smartphone users.

Both these finding echo other recent research leading to the obvious conclusion that the tablet is becoming the primary mobile commerce device.

This brings to mind the age-old tale of the group of blind men who touch an elephant to determine what it’s like. After they each touch a different part, they have a wild disagreement about what the elephant looks like. Tablet commerce is but one piece of the elephant.

There’s little doubt that many people will make purchases from their tablets. But making an online purchase from a tablet is yet one component of mobile shopping, just as mobile payment is a component.

The reality is that mobile transforms shopping from an event to a process; people no longer go shopping, they are shopping.

For shopping, consumers use smartphones at home, in the research phase, in transit, on location, in stores, in the close proximity of products, during paying and in sharing information with friends after a purchase.

Smart marketers and mobile innovators are well into developing and deploying methods to engage consumers at various stages of that shopping process.

Mobile commerce is more than one event during the purchase process, even if that one event is done using a tablet.

 Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker around the world. 

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