Tablet Ownership Boosts Mobile Commerce

By Gary Kim October 11, 2011

Tablet ownership increases the frequency of mobile shopping, improves the purchase experience and makes consumers who own both devices use their smart phone more often, a survey of U.S. smart phone and tablet owners conducted by Ipsos OTX MediaCT on behalf of PayPal has found.

Owners of tablets buy nearly twice as often as those who only have smart phones. Further, more than 40 percent of these “dual owners” made more than 20 mobile purchases over the past year. Perhaps most strikingly, nearly two-thirds of dual owners indicated higher overall spending due to their mobile purchasing activity. Mobile commerce

Observers will speculate about why the behavior exists. Some might argue that the use of the tablet in a more relaxed setting, such as on a couch, rather than at a desk, somehow encourages shopping behavior. Others might simply say it is in part a function of the larger screen, more similar to a larger PC screen, which makes navigation easier and also offers a more-engaging visual presentation.

The other issue might be that “dual owners have the classic markings of early tech adopters, including skewing high-income and male,” says Todd Board, SVP of Ipsos OTX MediaCT.

“We are starting to see more retailers take advantage of this trend by tailoring their mobile websites and apps for tablets. With more shoppers planning to use tablets to shop this holiday season, and quite often using them from the comfort of their own home, we expect that retailers will see quite a bit of ‘couch commerce’ this year,” says Laura Chambers, Senior Director of Mobile, PayPal. “We are predicting that the first big spike in mobile shopping will be right after Thanksgiving dinner, where consumers will be shopping from their tablets and smartphones right from their couch – a fantastic early opportunity for retailers to engage their customers.”

Dual owners are significantly more likely (63 percent) to indicate increased overall spending on mobile purchases, versus owners of smart phones only (29 percent). 


The study also found that the addition of a tablet complements the smartphone shopping experience. In fact, the results show that dual owners still prefer smart phones for a wider range of m-commerce tasks.

“Where dual owners have a preference between devices for mobile commerce activities, most preferences are in favor of the smart phone,” says Board, “They’re easier to use for swiping the device for coupons or QR codes, listening to audio with privacy, and buying in some public settings, and also preferred for making a final purchase.”

Also, while smart phones seem preferred for app-based purchases, tablets seem preferred for website-based purchases, probably tied to the ‘couch commerce’ theme of at-home purchasing we also see in our data,” Board adds. 

Gary Kim is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Contributing Editor

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