A new study by Adobe Systems underscores the key role tablets play in mobile commerce, with tablet owners far more likely than smartphone owners to use their devices both for shopping and making purchases.
The findings were based on a survey of 1,003 American adults conducted from Nov. 28-Dec. 3 who owned a tablet and/or a smartphone. The Adobe study found that 55% of tablet owners reported using the device for buying products, compared to 28% of smartphone users.
Furthermore, 44% on the tablet side identified shopping as a typical activity on their devices versus only 20% on smartphones. Tablets' larger screens make them inherently more suited to browse products, compare prices, read reviews and ratings and the like than smartphones. People are also more apt to use tablets to shop from the comfort of their couch.
“So the message to retailers should be…when you’re thinking about driving that purchase decision and purchase intent, you need to think about how tablets play into your strategy,” said Lynly Schambers-Lenox, group product marketing manager, digital publishing at Adobe.
Research from eMarketer last week indicated that tablets are indeed the preferred mobile instruments for buying stuff. Tablets accounted for 57% of the $24.6 billion in total U.S. m-commerce last year, and are forecast to drive 62.5% of the $38.4 billion total in 2013.
Regardless of device type, Adobe’s “2013 Digital Publishing Report: Retail Apps & Buying Habits” showed the growing appetite of mobile shoppers for using apps. Nearly half (49%) of smartphone users and 45% of tablet owners are interested in switching from shopping on the mobile Web to apps.
Smartphone users in particular are frustrated by the slow speed of mobile browsers. Of people who don’t currently shop on mobile devices, one in four intends to use mobile apps to shop this year. “What we’re seeing is that apps are catching up to browsers, and I think that’s what’s interesting for retailers,” said Schambers-Lenox.
She acknowledged that most traditional retailers have been more focused to date on developing their mobile sites rather than on apps. “But it’s something they need to start thinking about more,” she said, given growing adoption of smartphones and tablets and consumer interest in shopping via apps.
Keep in mind that Adobe has an interest in promoting app use since the company makes software tools for converting traditional media like magazines, newspapers and catalogs into tablet apps.
A separate report by Shop.org and Forrester Research released Monday showed that the top priority in 2013 for more than half (51%) of retailers surveyed was optimizing their main Web sites. Among 43%, mobile and tablets are among their top three priorities, with plans to invest in new or improved mobile apps and mobile-friendly sites.
The Adobe research showed that getting money-saving offers is the most important feature of an app among both tablet (52%) and smartphone (67%) shoppers. Almost half (49%) of tablet users want to have interactive images and slide shows, while many smartphone users (60%) put a priority on geolocation services for finding nearby stores.
Both tablet and smartphone users overwhelmingly cited friends as the biggest influence on mobile purchases, followed by emails from a company, online ads, and Facebook. Mobile shoppers share their opinions of new apps mainly in person (53%), as well as on Facebook (21%), and email (19%).