As ever-popular smartphones have become a tool to influence shoppers, tablets are gaining a stronger hold on consumer spending.
According to the 2012 Mobile Commerce Survey released by the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org division and Forrester Research, 137 million U.S. consumers own smartphones that collectively accounted for just 1.5 percent of sales on the Web last year. However, 61 million tablet owners generated more than twice that percentage of sales last year with 3.2 percent, as reported by WWD.com.
Furthermore, among 55 online retailers with and without physical stores, tablets are driving sales that are comparable to those made in stores. While the average order value made on a smartphone is $134.37, tablets exceed that with $159.28. The site conversion rate for tablets was 2.4 percent versus 1 percent for mobile phones.
Yet, the report does not mean smartphones lack a future in commerce. Mobile phones’ percentage of e-commerce is projected to rise 1 point a year, with its 2 percent share last year translating into $6 billion in U.S. retail sales. This year’s 3 percent share is expected to translate into $10 billion. At this rate of growth, smartphone commerce is expected to be at 7 percent, or $31 billion, of total e-commerce in 2016. The overall e-commerce volume is projected to surpass $440 billion.
The study also shows that tablets and smartphones are used in different ways. Consumers reported that they use quick response codes or other barcode scanning more than any other shopping app The second, third and fourth most popular methods were tied to the smartphone with paid campaign searches, mobile email optimization and mobile display ad campaigns. The tablet’s paid search campaigns came in fifth.
“Smartphones aren’t going away,” said Vicki Cantrell, executive director of Shop.org and senior vice president of communities at NRF, as reported by WWD.com. “They’re what people carry with them. Maybe the mobile phone becomes the next big promotional tool. There’s a more clear line separating tablets and mobile phones now. The visual nature of the tablet and the rising popularity of Pinterest, which is itself so visual, is making retailers open their eyes to Pinterest-commerce. People used to sit on the couch with their laptops. Now they take their tablets to bed with them because that’s where they’ve got their books. We could find ourselves moving from couch-commerce to bed-commerce.”