It’s a well-known fact in the world of mobile technology that tablet users are taking the world by storm. A relatively recent introduction to the growing pool of interesting gadgets, tablets have taken off in the past two years, and this trend is only expected to continue.
Though the essential tablet computer has a long and checkered past, with Microsoft attempting to break it into the mainstream in the late ‘90s, all efforts to make a functional and widely accessible tablet failed until Apple released the revolutionary iPad in 2010. Microsoft’s initial attempt at creating a flat screen, portable notetaking device failed for various reasons – too heavy, difficult software, limited platform – but when Apple got it right, the iPad started appearing in households, coffee shops, board rooms and subways everywhere.
Now consumers have hundreds of tablets to choose from and with the recent additions of Amazon Kindle Fire, Microsoft Surface and Google’s Nexus 7, popularity and usage will continue to grow.
E-commerce platform developers and e-tailers have been optimizing user experience and ease of purchase from tablet devices in an effort to improve the shopping experience for tablet users.
Here’s a portrait of a tablet shopper:
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So what makes a tablet a desirable addition to the already established laptop and smartphone? And why should online retailers care about the habits of tablet users? As you can see from the infographic above, tablets are beginning to occupy a significant space in ecommerce.
- Growing Demographic: First and foremost, any quickly expanding population is a clear sign to pay attention. Tablet use has increased over 300% since last year, and tablet users say they spend an average of 14 hours a week on the device. Something important is happening here with the growth spurt in tablets, and it would serve no marketing purpose to turn the other cheek. Yet, it’s still early, so understanding the habits of this new generation of mobile users can only put you ahead of the game.
- Easy To Use: Tablet users are growing exponentially, not least because they are easy to use, portable, fun to play with and all around desirable to have as a complement to the bulky desktop computer or limited smartphone. The tablet falls somewhere in between these two, offering a large touch screen perfect for transcribing notes, watching videos, sending e-mails and listening to music. It’s something of a work tool, but also a toy, so it’s easy to see why people might prefer to jump on their tablet for some Internet cruising rather than their computer. This might be the time when people are relaxed and ready to do some Internet shopping.
- Willing Shoppers: With a dynamic platform and prosperous, astute users mainly between the ages of 18 and 34, tablets are perfect for ecommerce. In fact, a recent study by the Online Publishers Association reported that 61% of tablet users have bought some form of digital content online. Furthermore, 30% of tablet users admit to being privy to impulse buys. Tablet users are tech savvy, successful and comfortable with online shopping.
- More Affluent Users: Since the tablet is a convergence of laptop and smartphone functionality, not necessarily replacing either, users who have all three gadgets tend to be more affluent, and therefore more apt to shop online. In fact, the average income of a tablet user is $63,000 and the average tablet order is $123, a full $20 more than purchases made from a desktop computer.
- Great Platform For Ads: The inherent nature of the tablet makes it a perfect platform for ads. Because it’s a flat screen that’s conducive to watching videos and streaming images, ads find a natural home here. The Online Publishers Study cited above found that most digital content tablet users buy and download are in the form of magazines and entertainment, rather than news. The tablet is naturally great for visually appealing content, and tablet users are open to consuming entertaining marketing. In fact, the touch screen could even allow for interactive advertising, a unique element missing from computers.
So what does this mean for online retailers? Tablets and ecommerce almost go hand in hand. And it’s time to jump on the tablet train if you haven’t already. 91% of retailers claim to have a mobile strategy, but unless you’ve consulted an ecommerce expert, how can you tell if the website is functional? Since tablets are a new ballgame for everyone, an optimized website and a streamlined shopping cart are essential to keeping any sharp tech user interested. In the age of quickly advancing technologies, online retailers will do best if they keep up to speed and understand the unique challenges and assets specific to each mobile platform.