February 6, 2012, 1:34 PM

Dropping a tablet into the mix changes U.K. shoppers’ behavior

And nearly two in five smartphone owners are using their devices in stores.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

When a consumer in the U.K. buys a tablet, his online shopping behavior drastically changes, finds a new survey from the Interactive Advertising Bureau U.K.

31% of desktop or laptop users who do not own a tablet shop on their computers, the survey says. But only 22% of those who own a desktop or laptop as well as a tablet shop on the desktop or laptop, while 27% of those consumers use their tablets to shop.

What’s more, of U.K. consumers who own a desktop or laptop, a smartphone and a tablet, the average time spent shopping every week on a desktop or laptop is 2.9 hours, on a smartphone 2.2 hours, but on a tablet a whopping 4.4 hours, the survey finds.

“Previous research from the IAB shows that tablet users see this device as a place for entertainment and relaxation, so it is no surprise to see that they also take their time when shopping on their tablet,” says Alex Kozloff, senior mobile manager at the Interactive Advertising Bureau U.K. “The great functionality and easy to use experience of a tablet offers a place for consumers to relax and spend some time browsing retailer sites and apps. Retailers that can create a rich and engaging tablet destination will likely benefit in the long term from this consumer trend.”

Smartphones also are changing the way U.K. consumers shop. 38% of smartphone owners have used their devices in stores. Of these shoppers, 55% conducted a web search about a product, 49% compared prices at other retailers, 27% used a store locator, 25% scanned a product bar code to obtain more information, and 20% used an app to obtain product information.

But a smartphone is just one way to obtain information and advice on a purchasing decision. While in a store, the survey finds, 32% of smartphone owners trust the shop assistant most, 18% information on their smartphone, 15% a person they are shopping with, 14% point-of-sale information, and 9% a friend or family member they call.

Consumer adoption of tablets and smartphones is growing fast, both in the U.S. and the U.K. And retailers that want to keep pace with their customers should take note of how the introduction of these devices into consumers’ hands is changing online and in-store retailing.

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