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European users embrace tablets more than smartphones: Shopzilla

June 28, 2011

European consumers embracing tablets for shopping

The mobile commerce potential among tablet users in parts of Europe could be more significant than for smartphones, according to a new report from Shopzilla.

Shopzilla expects tablets to be an important trend for British shoppers given the high levels of consumer interest in these devices. As tablet usage grows, consumers shopping habits will change, providing a significant opportunity for retailers that are first with relevant mobile commerce strategies. 

“Consumers are embracing tablets, so skeptical retailers should seriously start looking at how they are preparing for the tablet revolution, including investing in mobile sites and apps,” said Rachel Smith, senior director of business services at Shopzilla Europe, London.

“It is clear that Apple is winning the war, so any investment retailers make should be Apple compatible,” she said.

Tablet use growing
Online shopping via iPads and similar tablet devices is set to jump significantly in Britain  as consumers there embrace the devices, according to Shopzilla.

The survey , which consisted of 4,721 online shoppers in the Britain, France and Germany during May, shows that six percent of shoppers already own a tablet while 20 percent are considering purchasing one over the next year.

In the European survey, respondents named the iPad as their tablet of choice by a 5-to-1 ratio.

The evolution of mobile commerce is expected to mirror whatis happening in the United States, where the iPad is driving significant growth in mobile commerce.

A recent Shopzilla study showed that 12 percent of U.S. consumers have a tablet and a quarter of consumers plan to buy one in the next year.

The results of the survey have implications for retailers.

“While we didn’t survey retailers for the report, we definitely think that those that are ahead of the curve now can earn loyalty and market share,” Ms. Smith said. “Those that ignore the tablet trend are at risk to lose out.”

The European survey revealed that 61 percent of iPad or tablet users say it is as easy to shop online with their hand-held device as with their personal computer.

In addition, 71 percent said they have or would buy online using their mobile device. Two-thirds of tablet users look to this device more than their smartphones for online shopping.

Tablet shoppers are also multitaskers even more so than smartphone users. Tablets provide a second screen advantage, with 70 percent of tablet users watching TV while simultaneously browsing shopping sites.

In comparison, only 29 percent of smartphone users engage in similar activity while watching TV.

Social shopping
Retailers should focus their resources to insure their sites are optimized for the tablet experience.

Internal sales figures from Shopzilla show that conversion rates on smartphones are lower than on personal computers while the conversion rates from tablets is the same or better than the PC.

There is an important social element that tablets introduce to shopping and which retailers should keep an eye on. Retailers are still learning how consumers interact with these new devices.

The report found that 53 percent of iPad or tablet users use their device to browse shopping sites with friends. In comparison, only 27 percent of online shoppers currently use a smartphone to browse shopping sites with friends.

“We think it’s interesting that social shopping isn’t just about sharing product reviews or posting feedback on Facebook, it’s also about real-time social shopping,” Ms. Smith said.

“The tablet’s size makes it easier for two people to shop together, sharing opinions in real time,” she said.

“Again, if retailers miss out on the opportunity to earn loyalty from these shoppers because they don’t have mobile-enabled sites or apps, they miss out on this segment of shoppers and the revenue they bring.”

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