Tablets Trump Smartphones for Ecommerce--Are PCs Next?
By Christina Cheddar Berk, News Editor
NEW YORK (CNBC) -- Retailers tend to lump tablets and smartphones into the same category called "mobile," but that might not be wise, according to the results of a new study by online marketing technology company Monetate.
The company has studied more than 100 million online shopping experiences and the results make it clear that tablets and smartphones should be separated out as separate audience segments or retailers risk alienating customers. What's more, as other studies have found, tablets are a much more valuable device for ecommerce than smartphones.
Shoppers who are using tablets are much more similar to shoppers who use PCs than shoppers who are on their smartphones. They tend to view nearly the same number of web pages per visit as tablet users, while smartphone users view fewer pages.
Monetate also has seen that the tablet user conversion rate, or the pace at which browsers become buyers, is pretty much equal to the conversion rate among PC shoppers, whereas few smartphone shoppers become buyers.
According to Monetate, conversion rates have consistently been above 3% for both tablet and PC shoppers, while the conversion rate for smartphone shoppers in the latest quarter was 1.39% and has never gone above 1.7%.
Tablets Chip Away at PC Traffic But those tablet shoppers are poised to become increasingly important to retailers as consumers continue to shift to tablets from PCs. The pace of this shift is so rapid that if it remains at its current pace, website traffic from PC users will dip below 75% in less than a year, according to Monetate.
In the first quarter, 88% of website visits came from PCs, down from 92.1% in the prior quarter, Monetate said. The bulk of the lost share is going to tablets.
In the first quarter of 2012, the share of traffic to ecommerce sites from tablets hit 6.52%, outpacing smartphones traffic, which had a 5.35% share, for the first time.