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The importance of tablets to ecommerce is well-documented, with research consistently showing that the devices convert at a much higher rate than smartphones.
And new data from Adobe shows global websites are now getting more traffic from tablets than smartphones, at 8% and 7% of monthly page views respectively.
This is particularly impressive considering that the device only came to market three years ago, and it’s also good news for ecommerce sites.
In December we reported that conversion rates from tablets were four times higher than on smartphones, and actually peaked above desktop on Cyber Monday.
Furthermore, eBay told us this week that one third of all its transactions are touched by mobile and sales from tablet devices are up 55% compared to the same time last year. It also found that tablet shoppers spend £154 on average compared to £85 on smartphone.
And other companies have also begun to respond to this trend, with data from our Conversion Rate Optimization Report showing that 35% of company respondents are now designing their websites for mobile users and 23% for tablets, an increase of 10% on last year's survey.
The reason for the shift is that although smartphones are far more common, tablets offer a far more convenient browsing experience.
Stats show that smartphones are used mostly in the day, while tablets are typically used during the evening when people are relaxing at home.
Whether it is leisurely surfing the web, engaging with video, or shopping online, on average internet users view 70% more pages per visit when browsing with a tablet compared to a smartphone.
This tallies with previous data which showed that one tablet generates as many website visits as four smartphones.
UK internet users most likely to use a tablet
While smartphone usage is relatively similar in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, the UK leads the way in terms of tablet usage.
Overall, UK internet users are far more likely to browse on a mobile device than their counterparts in France and Germany.
Furthermore, the data highlights the cultural difference between the East and West, with smartphones proving to be more popular than tablets among Japanese and Chinese consumers.
Which sectors are seeing the most traffic?
As mentioned, tablets are frequently used for shopping and leisure time, so it’s no surprise that retail websites see the biggest share of traffic.
Auto and travel also attract a large proportion of tablet traffic, followed by media/entertainment sites.
This again serves to underline the fact that retailers need to have a tablet strategy in place, and can’t simply lump smartphones and tablets into one big ‘mobile’ category.
Fashion brand Net-A-Porter was quick to see the unique opportunity offered by the device, and has produced a number of apps that cater to tablet users with a mix of entertaining content as well as ecommerce functionality.
Adobe's data shows that telecoms providers see the largest share of smartphone traffic, presumably because customers go online to pay and check their phone bills.