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Merchants should study their web logs, and pay heed to the mega-popular iPad.
A snapshot of smartphone market share today based on research from The Nielsen Co. shows Apple Inc. with a slight edge over the ever-dropping BlackBerry, with the ever-growing Android coming in third. But while market share figures show the big picture, what retailers really need to heed are their web logs. What precisely are the percentages of different mobile devices visiting their e-commerce sites?
One retailer, wishing to remain anonymous, volunteered its web log to Forrester Research Inc., and the log shows a different picture than the Nielsen research.
Devices running Apple’s iOS mobile operating system trounce the competition. 46.5% of all mobile page views came from the iPad. 33.1% stemmed from the iPhone and 3.2% came from the iPod Touch. So a whopping 82.8% of all mobile page views were from an Apple device.
3.2% came from the Motorola Droid, which runs Google Inc.’s Android operating system, and 1.8% came from Research in Motion’s BlackBerry Tour 9630 device. Numerous smartphones accounted for the remaining mobile devices accessing the site.
So in this case, this retailer needs to be focused on optimizing an m-commerce site for the Apple iOS system and creating an iPhone app—iPhone apps run on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad—and perhaps an iPad app.
And it’s the iPad, not even one year old yet, that’s making the biggest splash, not just with this retailer but all over the web.
“In spite of the fact that the iPad was only introduced in the spring of 2010, it immediately proved to be a formidable driver of traffic through mobile devices,” writes Sucharita Mulpuru in the new Forrester Research report “Five Retail E-commerce Trends to Watch in 2011.” “Many retailers report that already half of what they consider to be mobile traffic is coming through tablet devices. This is likely to lead to a new subset of mobile commerce: tablet commerce. This new development is due to an inherent weakness of smartphones: Their smaller form factor creates a challenge to buy anything that requires consideration via an app or mobile web site.”
But the rise of the tablet by no means signals the death of the smartphone. Both the tablet and the smartphones have their places in mobile shopping.
“M-commerce [via smartphones] will also continue to grow but for different reasons,” Mulpuru writes. “Though consumers are less likely to use their phones than their laptops or desktops to browse the Internet—for now—they will use their phones to supplement the store shopping experience driving incremental web traffic that did not exist before. Tablet devices on the other hand will grow by capturing share from traditional PC web traffic by untethering shoppers from their desktops, enabling easy browsing in a living room, during a bus commute to work or at an airport.”