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Tablets, new purchase channel

Nine out of ten owners of tablets used these devices to purchase or compare prices

  • Key4Communications

After a 2011 that confirmed the growth of mobile commerce, sales through tablets are expected to show significant increases in 2012. According to a research by Zmags and Equation Research, 87% of the owners of these devices used them to search, compare and buy products during the Christmas season. 53% used the tablets for this purpose at least once a week.

Due to their larger screen and wide use at home, tablets are gaining ground as a means of mobile shopping. 49% of owners expect to use these tablets to buy even more this year, while the percentage drops to 19% for smartphones owners.

However, 87% prefer to shop using their computers, 14% through mobile phones and 9% by the tablets. In addition, consumers prefer websites: apps are the preferred choice for only 4% of consumers. Also, 71% still opt for brick-and-mortar stores. Users cite convenience (29%) as the main reason to buy through tablets.

By product category, the tablet was preferred to buy consumer electronics products, with 55% of users. For toys, percentages of the tablets (39%) and PC (40%) were very similar.

A growing channel

Mobile commerce, through both phones and tablets, went up 20% in the US during the holiday season, according to IBM.

This market is expected to continue growing over the next few years, with smartphones and tablets adjusting their uses according to their characteristics. Thus, tablets could eventually replace laptops at home, while mobile will continue being used, for example, for last minute shopping and to compare prices while at the store.

2011 is expected to close with about 65 million tablets sold worldwide, a figure that could reach 325 million by 2015, according to Gartner.

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