Earlier this week, a report by Forrester Research showed that tablets were being used more and more for online shopping, stealing the thunder away from smartphones and desktop computers. Because tablets seem to be increasing the amount of time that people spend online, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
While the report found that only 9% of online shoppers are doing so with their tablets, sales from these devices make up 20% of the overall volume. Without doing the math, this means that the people choosing to shop using their tablet are finding their way to the checkouts. Add to this the projections that sales for these devices will continue to grow and that a third of all adults could own a tablet by 2015, and the potential shouldn’t be ignored.
It seems that these days any store larger than your favorite mom-and-pop corner store has a website and offers online shopping. Many even have custom apps available to browse and shop within. These resources combined with the larger screen sizes on tablets and impressive battery life make for a powerful team. Flipping through pages of products and descriptions and zooming in on images is easy with their touch screens and the larger on-screen keyboards come in handy when filling out the requisite forms to make a purchase.
Not only that, but with both web and integrated apps allowing you access to your banking information and other payment methods such as PayPal, you have the complete package –researching and then purchasing items without needing to leave your seat.
The most significant thing may be that that tablets are changing the way people think about technology. These devices are becoming a part of our day to day life. Smartphones are seen by many as ‘really fancy phones that happen to do some web stuff’, but tablets are branded as small computers capable of doing our most common tasks like making social networking and web surfing easier and more convenient.
Earlier this month a report was issued by bit.ly that discerned how tablets were most being used, showing people were turning to these devices in the evenings, after their work days were complete and they are ready for leisure time. This often translates into tablets becoming companions, surfing when and where you relax but also at the ready when an advertisement or product comes to mind.
I know that I get teased constantly by my family that I have an online shopping addiction, and while I deny it outright, in reality it may be true. Honestly, I do my best shopping from the comfort of my favorite living room chair once the children are asleep. This is when I can sit back, take my time and enjoy the experience. There are no line-ups, no obnoxious fellow shoppers and best of all, no parking lots!
Retailers need to be paying attention. While tablets don’t require as much consideration as a smartphone, there are still compromises that may need to be made. If you want to appeal to iOS devices, don’t use Flash. Also remember that the battery life and portability of tablets may mean that many of us are surfing your site over 3G from a coffee shop or waiting room. When shopping online there no such thing as a captive audience, moving along to the next site is easily said and done.
Have you taken the plunge? What is your favorite place to shop online? Where are the best deals? Who is doing it right?
[via New York Times]