According to eMarketer’s latest forecasts Tablet commerce will triple this year to reach £4.74 billion ($7.52 billion) and take 10.4% of total UK retail ecommerce sales. In comparison with the overall mobile commerce growth, which is forecast to double, indications are clear that tablets are growing the fastest in the mobile landscape.
For the first time, more m-commerce sales will occur on tablets than smartphones, with tablets expected to account for 58% of all retail m-commerce sales in the UK, vs. a 40.5% share occurring on smartphones.
33% of tablet owners use their device to shop online, while recent research by Adobe shows that tablet users actually spend twice as much as smartphone users when purchasing through their device.
These statistics highlight the importance for retailers of ensuring they have a complete and intuitive tablet-enabled experience.
2014 is the year many retail decision makers are faced with questions about where to focus their multi-channel budget? Should the focus be on smartphones or tablets? Is responsive design the all in one solution or will investing in a dedicated tablet app be the best investment? The pros and cons of responsive design were explored in more detail in my previous article.
Whilst the mobile device scene and shoppers behaviour across multiple channels is changing rapidly, retailers are playing catch up.
Very few retailers are taking full advantage of the opportunity to extend sales to mobile and tablet platforms. Implementation varies greatly by device. For example, there is much more optimisation for smartphones.
A recent study by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) found that while 74% of the top 50 retailers in the UK now have a mobile-optimised site, only 8% have one optimised for tablets.
I the past 12 months we have seen many new types of tablets with different screen sizes come to market. Not long ago the iPad was the only dominant tablet, but that is changing now. In most cases the tablet screen sizes makes it possible to browse standard desktop websites with relative ease, but best user experience can only be achieved with a mix of responsive and bespoke tablet site design, which can adapt to different screen sizes.
The main trend adopted by large retailers so far has been to redirect users to a mobile version of a site when the site is accessed from a smartphone but still show the desktop version when the site is accessed from a tablet. Adoptive design would mean that the mobile version of the site is responsive, adapting to the larger screen size when viewing on a tablet.
However, a unique tablet experience can only be achieved by a site that is designed specifically for tablets or an app. The iPad is still by far the most commonly used tablet and hence would be the obvious first choice when developing an app. App development requires significant investment but is the only option that provides full control over the user interface and access to all native functions of devices such as an iPad.