Enter The T-Shopper: Tablets Flex Retail Muscle
M-shopping may have been all the buzz this past holiday season, but T-shopping could be the trend to watch in 2012. According to a new study from e-commerce marketing and merchandising company Zmags and Equation Research, 87% of the tablet owners surveyed during the holiday season were using their devices to research, browse and buy products.
More to the point, this is a demo that retailers want to have shop from their iPads and Kindle Fires, because the survey also reported these T-shoppers planned to spend an average of $325 during the gift-giving season from their tablets.
The T-Shopping habit is strong. The research showed that 53% of tablet owners were using their devices for shopping-related activities at least once a week, with a third doing so more than once a week -- and it won’t ease up in the coming year.
Compared to other venues for buying, T-commerce is the growth center: 49% of tablet owners say they plan to buy more via the device in the coming year, compared to 19% of smartphone owners saying they will buy more via their phones and 20% of consumers surveyed saying they expect to spend more at the retail venue.
Device preferences vary according to product category, however. Among owners of tablets, smartphone and PC devices, the tablet was among the most-preferred platforms for making an electronics purchase with 55% of users, versus 55% for the PC/laptop and 35% for smartphone. Curiously, for jewelry, both tablet and smartphone (24%) bested the PC (19%). But with toys, the tablet (39%) was about even with the PC (40%), with the smartphone trailing (31%).
T-commerce appeals to consumers mainly because those who own the devices are spending so much time with them already. Zmags finds that 29% cite convenience as the main reason they consult retailers on their tablets. The shoppers may also just be in a more receptive mood when sitting with their iPads, since 24% said they just liked browsing for inspiration when they weren’t sure what they wanted.
This browsing function may be why the respondents in this survey were not very positive about the role of smartphone apps in their shopping experience. When asked about their preferred way to access their favorite brands, 14% said they liked browsing Web sites on their smartphone and 9% cited doing so on their tablets. But only 4% stated a preference either for tablet or smartphone apps. Zmags calls out this surprising metric in its research, since its own product offering involves digital product catalogs that work mainly in browsers cross-platform rather than in dedicated apps.
Nevertheless, the overall metrics do put all mobile media in their proper place. When it comes to shopping preferences, 71% still say the in-store experience is best, while 87% cite the desktop Web. In the greater scheme of things, mobile may be hot, but it isn’t even close to replacing other platforms -- even digital ones -- for shopping.
Equation Research and Zmags interviewed 1,500 consumers who owned PCs, smartphones and/or tablets between Nov. 10 and 14, 2011.