Commentary

How Much Do People Spend Using Smartphones & Tablets?

NFC-phone-BSometimes there are logical misperceptions around mobile.

Many believe that more people own iPhones than Android phones, though many pieces of research show that Android is the clear market share leader.

Some don’t see NFC (near field communications) catching on any time soon, though research shows 500 million NFC-enabled phones will hit the market next year.

Regarding commerce, one of the most common comments I hear is about how consumers will not trust mobile for spending significant amounts of money. The thinking goes: “I may use my phone to search or research, but would never buy anything expensive using my phone.”

With this in mind, I came across an intriguing tidbit buried inside the recent 15miles/Neustar Localeze Sixth Annual Local Search Study. While the study focused primarily on search, it highlighted the spending patterns on smartphones and tablets compared to those made on PC/laptops.

  • For amounts of money spent, slightly more people spent over $500 on both smartphones (8%) and tablets (7%) than on PCs (5%).
  • In the $100 to $499 range, more people (32%) spent that amount on smartphones compared to those (26%) on PCs.
  • In the $50 to $99 range, the spending patterns were the same for tablets and PCs, with 22% spending on both devices.
  • In the smallest amount spent category, $1 to $49, more spent on PCs (47%) compared to tablets (39%) but about the same (46%) on mobile phones.

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Granted, this is just one study but could be an indicator that maybe purchase patterns in general will become the same, no matter the device.

We already know that despite the increasing number and improving quality of apps, many consumers still use their phones as windows to mobile websites.

We’ll be on the lookout for more research on this. Meanwhile, I’m curious, how much would you spend using your phone or tablet and where do you see spending patterns heading?

10 comments about "How Much Do People Spend Using Smartphones & Tablets?".
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  1. Maureen Shively from Denver Post, April 3, 2013 at 11:24 a.m.

    I personally like to the option of shopping & paying from my table better than my lab top. It is just an easier format.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, April 3, 2013 at 11:26 a.m.

    Thanks Maureen, sounds like you are in sync with the market, which shows spending via tablet on the rise.

  3. Meliah Cranmer from MMGY Global, April 3, 2013 at 11:28 a.m.

    Did the study mention what types of products/services were being purchased on smartphones or tablets? Perhaps late minute travel purchases are skewing the higher spend results?

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, April 3, 2013 at 11:31 a.m.

    Great point about travel, Meliah. Unfortunately, this particular study did not, though other research does, in fact, show significant last-minute purchases in travel via mobile, as you suggest. Will be on the watch for research in that regards, thanks.

  5. Kevin Horne from Verizon, April 3, 2013 at 5:32 p.m.

    Until someone shows me different, here's how i interpret this (and dozens of prior studies like it): people who can afford smartphones and tablets have more discretonary income than those who are "stuck" with laptops...therefore they "spend more" on whatever stuff this study is tracking (and THAT seems like a big detail missing)

  6. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, April 3, 2013 at 6:16 p.m.

    While all that may be true Kevin, the majority of mobile phones are now smartphones (55%) on the way to in the 70% penetration range. The tablet demographic, on the other hand, may be in line with your view, though that penetration is moving to majority arena as well. We will all have to see where this shakes out. Interesting times.

  7. mike boland from BIA/Kelsey, April 3, 2013 at 7:19 p.m.

    Are we talking about mcommerce or mobile payments in physical stores? The NFC mention implies the latter but other language in the article implies the former. They're vastly different use cases and market opportunities, but i can't tell which one is being analyzed here.

    Just like the difference in scale between ecommerce and offline retail, mcommerce opportunity will be dwarfed by offline mobile-assisted shopping and payments.

  8. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, April 3, 2013 at 8:40 p.m.

    About mCommerce, Mike. The NFC and iPhone/Android market share examples were only to highlight some common misperceptions around mobile in general, leading to the points from the study regarding much people will spend via a mobile device. We agree about different use cases in the point you mentioned.

  9. Ellen Grace Henson from Marketing Mechanics, April 5, 2013 at 12:46 p.m.

    To your point Kevin Horne, I have seen research, I think from PEW, that shows people who couldn't afford laptops are now acquiring smartphones and using that as their primary connection to the internet.

  10. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, April 5, 2013 at 4:48 p.m.

    That is also happening in a big way in underdeveloped countries, Ellen, where first internet access ever is via phone. Good point.

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