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Consumers Use Smartphones to Shop, Tablets to Buy

by Claudia Bruemmer

A study by IFCHIC shows tablets rule over smartphones when it comes to conversions. While consumers browse on their smartphones, when it comes to making a purchase, they use their tablets rather than the smartphone. This may be because of the larger display where they can get more detailed product information.


E-retailers who monitor the stats with analytics programs have noticed that consumers may shop with their smartphones, but they get more sales from consumers making purchases from a tablet computer. This insight is supported by the recent data released by Ability Commerce.

The data, which comes from three very large Ability e-retailer clients, show that more visits to the retailers’ sites came from smartphones rather than tablets, especially from iPads. Google Analytics was used to track visits to client sites. Google recently altered its analytics program to show visits made via tablets. The results revealed that traffic and sales showed two very different outcomes.

In one case, consumers using iPads accounted for 55.6 percent of a retailer’s mobile commerce revenue over a 30-day period. However, the iPad users generated only 13 percent of mobile visits. In another case, iPad traffic accounted for 21 percent of mobile visits and 51 percent of the mobile commerce revenue. The most striking example was the third case, with 50 percent of mobile traffic and 97 percent of mobile revenue attributed to iPad users. Ability Commerce did not reveal the names of the retailers in the study.

The takeaway for retailers is that consumers use tablets to make purchases much like they do on laptops and desktop computers. That was the conclusion of Jennifer Tonisson, Ability Commerce marketing and training manager. “There’s a large screen and a lot of information is displayed,” said Tonisson. “The tablet market is where more conversions happen,” she concluded.

It all boils down to the importance of analytics in optimizing conversions. Retailers must pay attention to how consumers use tablets and then optimize their sites for optimum functionality and tablet viewing. They also need to monitor which devices consumers are using to shop on their sites, checking to ensure their sites display and function optimally on those devices. While traffic is important, nothing is more important than converting that traffic to sales.

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