April 25, 2013, 4:57 PM

75% of mobile conversions stem from tablets

Tablet-optimized web sites should be a priority for retailers, SeeWhy says.

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75% of mobile conversions happen on a tablet while 25% occur on a smartphone, finds retargeting marketing vendor SeeWhy Inc. in a study of 21 million transactions from its 2,500 retailer clients.

SeeWhy also conducted a survey of 11,616 U.S. adult consumers asking them about their mobile purchasing behavior. The overarching conclusion from both studies is that there are two very different types of mobile shoppers: smartphone shoppers and tablet shoppers, says Charles Nicholls, founder and chief strategy officer at SeeWhy.

“What people do with a smartphone is fundamentally different than what they do with a tablet,” Nicholls says. “There are three times more conversions on tablets than smartphones. Tablets are where the action is.”

SeeWhy examined daily mobile commerce conversion activity to identify patterns. Smartphone activity was static throughout the day, offering no patterns, See Why finds. That was not the case with tablets.

“Tablet activity varies significantly,” Nicholls says. “Conversions go up significantly in the evening as people get home from the day, start relaxing and get the tablet out. The tablet is a recreational device.”

The SeeWhy survey finds that for 56% of tablet owners the primary location they use their tablets is at home. In the home, 44% of tablet owners use their device in the living room, 23% in the bedroom, 19% in the kitchen, 14% outside, and 10% in the bathroom, the survey finds. The total exceeds 100% because respondents could choose more than one answer.

“Smartphones are being used for comparing prices, finding stores and finding opening hours, and some immediate, small, tactical purchases,” Nicholls says. “Tablets are much more recreational, used in the evening, initially in the living room on the couch while watching TV and as bedtime approaches in bed. These are two very different devices.”

Because most mobile conversions are occurring on tablets, retailers should first optimize their e-commerce sites for tablets, Nicholls says. Then retailers should add their digital catalogs to the various catalog aggregator tablet apps, he adds. These apps include Coffee Table, Catalog Spree, Catalogs.com and Google Catalogs.

“A retailer that goes into Google Catalogs, for example, surfs into this huge amount of mobile traffic of people browsing on their tablets in bed or on the couch. The whole recreational thing is really important,” Nicholls says. “Catalogs are not sexy, but when you look at the types of people doing that kind of research then driving through to the retail site, you see much higher conversion rates, higher average order values, more page views—metrics are supremely better.”

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