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March 14, 2012

Play. Read. Buy.

Apple’s new iPad unveiling last week was met with a media frenzy- yet another sign that tablets are here to stay. According to eMarketer, 1/3 of online consumers will be using a tablet by 2014 and an estimated 90 million Americans will be using a tablet on a monthly basis in that same year.

As people continue to adopt tablets, behaviors of tablet users are starting to come to light. Users are more likely to use their tablets when they are unwinding which also means they tend to be more engaged with the content on their tablet, whether it is a game, magazine app, or advertisement. This is a behavior shift from typical engagement from the other major mobile device: the smartphone. A session on a smartphone is typically brief as the user is often trying to quickly accomplish a task and usually on the go.

The relaxed mindset of tablet users lends itself to shopping applications and retail websites. In January, Bazaarvoice found that the iPad overtook all other mobile device usage in 2011 holiday shopping, making up over 20% of all mobile device use. This overtakes iPhone and Android devices, and is especially significant when you take into account that nearly half of American adults are smartphone users.

Adobe Digital Marketing also recently conducted a study which found that tablets are tops when it comes to shopping. It found that consumers who visit retail websites using tablets are more valuable online customers than those who visit websites using smartphones or traditional desktop/laptop computers. “Tablet users spend over 50 percent more per purchase than visitors who use smartphones, and over 20 percent more than computer users.” Tablet visitors were also 3 times more likely to make a visit than smartphone visitors, and just as likely to purchase as a visitor on a computer. This all indicates that delivering experiences optimized for tablet visitors should generate a higher ROI.

But why does shopping behavior seem to lend itself to tablets so well? Adobe found two reasons. First, tablet users are more affluent than other online shoppers and therefore may have an increased propensity to spend. Adobe also noted that the tablet user experience may be more conducive to online shopping, and shopping on tablets may take place in a less stressful environment.

These findings on mobile shopper behavior suggest that marketers, especially retailers, can no longer afford a one-size-fits-all approach to mobile optimizations because tablet and smartphone visitors are distinct customer segments. As tablet visitors are proving to be highly valuable, marketers should optimize their digital campaigns to create engaging customer experiences and take advantage of this important audience.

Have you had a positive shopping experience on your tablet? Share your thoughts in the comments below.