Adobe’s Digital Index, released March 7, uncovered that, for the first time, global tablet traffic surpassed that of Smartphones. Tablets generate eight percent of all Internet traffic compared to Smartphones’ seven percent.
“We’ve been keeping a close eye on how quickly tablets have taken off,” wrote Adobe’s Digital Index manager and primary analyst Tyler White in a blog post. “Just a year ago in January we uncovered that visitors using tablets spend 54 percent more per online order than their counterparts on Smartphones, and 19 percent more than desktop/laptop users.
“Now we know that not only is tablet traffic more valuable in terms of e-commerce and engagement, tablets have also become the primary device for mobile browsing,” he added.
White said while Smartphones are the more common device, tablets are better for browsing and, on average, Internet users view 70 percent more pages per visit when browsing with a tablet compared to a Smartphone.
The U.K. loves tablets
Smartphone traffic in the U.K. is comparable to traffic in U.S. and Canada, but tablet use is much higher, especially when compared to the rest of the world. Internet users in the U.K. are far more likely than those in France or Germany to browse via both tablets and Smartphones. In Japan and China, however, Smartphones are the device of choice for Internet browsing.
“This is not surprising given the Smartphone capabilities that have existed in Japan for years and the high costs of tablets and high speed mobile access in China,” White said.
Although tablet use varies from region to region, traffic growth was consistent in 2012. Traffic from tablets doubled in all countries last year — a trend White said will continue through 2013.
What does the rise of tablets mean for marketers?
“Consumers all over the world are trying out their tablets for the first time and it only takes one bad website experience for them to decide to go elsewhere,” White said, adding a Smartphone optimized site is not the same as a tablet optimized site.
“Marketers should keep in mind that consumers use their various mobile devices differently,” he said. “They might turn to their phone to check their bank statement or to stream music, but use their tablet to shop for a new couch. They want more personalized experiences. When they opt for their tablet they aren’t just price comparing, they’re purchasing. They aren’t just watching a video clip; they’re exploring and engaging with content. They’ll be disappointed if they’re not able to take advantage of the smooth touch interface and awesome screen resolution of their new toy.”
Adobe’s Digital Index data revealed another trend: while Smartphones are getting bigger, tablets are getting smaller. The newest tablets not only look like a larger Smartphones, they now have the ability to make phone calls as well.
“Marketers can’t rely on screen size anymore to determine and deliver the most appropriate experience,” White said. “They’ll need to pay attention to connection type (Wi-Fi versus cellular), and referral source along with form factor to prioritize which options to offer the user.
“Think about it. Why do you choose to use your tablet instead of your phone if you have both? What different expectations do you have? Now apply that to your customer’s experience.”
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