July 19, 2012, 11:27 AM

Tablet conversion nearly equivalent to desktop

And 6% of all orders come through an iPad, a study of Shopatron clients finds.

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Tablet computers are a potent force in mobile commerce, nearing desktop financial performance in some areas and surpassing it in others, a new study finds.

The overall conversion rates for tablet shoppers have been only 5-8% below the conversion rates of desktop PC shoppers for the 1,000 brand clients of e-commerce and order management technology provider Shopatron.

To date in 2012, about 6% of all Shopatron orders have come from an Apple Inc. iPad, and that number will continue to grow with increased tablet computer usage, Shopatron says.

“It’s no surprise that conversion rates on tablets are nearing or outpacing the conversion rates of desktops,” says Mark Grondin, Shopatron’s senior vice president of marketing. “Browsing on a tablet is intuitive and user friendly, providing portability without sacrificing interface quality or functionality. And the fact that this device can be easily used in a café, on the couch or even in bed makes it the perfect downtime shopping companion. It’s hard to think of a better shopping device.”

In addition, conversion rates from paid search ads have actually been higher on tablets, up to 3%, the company says. In a month-long analysis across several sporting goods clients, Shopatron found that click-through rates for paid search ads on tablets were 51% greater than those on PCs, and the average cost per click was 7% less.

“With fewer advertisers to compete with, tablet advertising is costing less than advertising to desktop-based shoppers,” says Greg Squires, Shopatron’s online marketing manager. “This has resulted in noticeably better return on tablet advertising investments: $7 in sales for each $1 in advertising spend versus $6 in sales per $1 in spend for desktop advertising.”

Founded in 2001, Shopatron’s clients include Bosch, Suzuki, Polaroid, Mizuno, Ducati, JL Audio, K2, Intermix and Sport Chalet.

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