eMarketer: Tablets Beat Smartphones for Online Shopping, Buying

Tablet owners browse, research and buy more

MAY 23, 2011 – Tablets hit it big only in 2010 with the release of the iPad, but their owners are already making use of them for commerce-and doing so to a greater degree than smartphone owners, according to research from the e-tailing group.

eMarketer estimates the US tablet installed base will represent 7.6% of the population by the end of 2011, up from 3.1% in 2010. Smartphone ownership, by contrast, will reach 23.4% of US consumers this year, up 4 percentage points over 2010.

Those who do have a tablet are eager to use them for shopping, according to the e-tailing group. One in 10 tablet owners reported using their device for browsing or buying online every day, vs. 6% of smartphone owners. They also made more purchases. Nearly one in four had made at least six purchases in the past six months, compared with 15% of smartphone users who had done they same. They were also much less likely to never use tablets for online buying.

Tablet owners made more purchases than smartphone owners made via mobile in a wide variety of categories. Only a few mobile-centric shopping categories favored smartphone buying, such as music/DVD/videos, event tickets and food.

Overall, tablet owners reported a higher level of satisfaction with their shopping experience.

Asked specifically to compare the smartphone and tablet shopping experience, 39% of tablet owners said the larger, less portable devices were “significantly better,” and another 30% chose “somewhat better”.

The screen size of tablets, which make for less reliance on the hit-or-miss status of mobile sites for many retailers, is likely the main factor in the improved shopping experience on tablets. And much of that shopping probably takes place at home-while tablets are mobile devices, most users typically report they get the most mileage out of them in the living room.

About eMarketer

By gathering the latest research and news from over 1,000 sources, eMarketer has established itself as the world’s leading provider of internet and e-business statistics. eMarketer’s Web site is at www.emarketer.com.