March 21, 2012, 11:59 AM

Tablet users have high expectations

And the negative repercussions of a poor site experience are serious, a study finds.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

Just because a consumer is visiting a web site on a tablet rather than a desktop computer doesn’t mean they lower their expectations of how sites should load and perform. In fact, they expect similar and sometimes even better performance. And, if they’re unhappy, they are less likely to visit that site in the future, a new study finds. What’s more, many unhappy consumers are going to let others know, according to the study by information technology and performance management vendor Compuware Corp.

“Engaging the Tablet User: What They Expect From Web Sites” finds that 13% of 2,033 tablet owners in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and India expect a web page to load on a tablet in less than one second. 24% expect a load time of one second, 32% two seconds, 20% three seconds, and 11% four seconds or more, the study says.

Comparing tablet page load times with desktop computer load times, 42% of tablet users expect the times to be the same, the study finds. 28% say pages should load faster on a tablet, 21% almost as fast, 8% somewhat slower and 2% much slower, the study says. These figures add up to more than 100% due to rounding.

If tablet users encounter problems loading or using a web site, they are likely to give the site another chance. If they experience a problem with a task such as loading a page or completing a transaction, 24% say they would try one more time, 46% say twice, 17% say three times, and 7% say four or more times, the study says. Only 6% of tablet users say they would not try again, the study finds.

49% of tablet users say if they experience a problem with a web site on a tablet they are less likely to visit that site again, the study says. 46% say they would visit a competitor’s site, 33% say they are less likely to purchase from the company with the problematic site, 28% say they will have a negative overall perception of that company, 21% say they will tell others about the poor experience, and 12% say they will relay the problem through social media.

“One thing is clear: Organizations that ignore tablet users do so at their peril,” the study says. “For organizations that depend on the web to drive business, tablets represent an important new channel for customer engagement. But great opportunity comes with great danger. Failure to deliver fast, quality web experiences and meet rising end-user expectations can reduce revenue, increase costs and damage the brand.”

IRCE $200 early-bird discount expires March 31!

Comments | 2 Responses

  • This article hooked me with the headline and subhead, but unfortunately the research itself is fundamentally flawed. Of course if you ask consumers what they’ll do if they ‘experience a problem with a task such as loading a page or completing a transaction’ then they’ll say things like they’ll visit a competitor’s site, or that they are less likely to purchase from the company. This misses the point that consumers use tablets and desktops for different purposes. Research from the IAB profiled the different uses for different devices. Tablets are about exploring and entertainment, while desktops are good for storing information and are secure. The most likely case if a tablet user experiences a problem with a transaction is that they postpone it, and maybe complete it on their desktop. In fact, you can see this in the different between 2011 shopping cart abandonment rate for mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) at 97% compared to all devices at 72% (data: SeeWhy). Tablet transactions are growing fast, but the majority of consumers are using them in a different way from either a smart phone or a desktop. Until tablet user experiences are easier for data entry with fat fingers this is unlikely to change.

  • You make some very good points Charles. Consumers DO use tablets and desktops for different purposes, and they use the smartphone for even more different purposes. People on smartphones expect everything, and more, than what this article implies for tablets. The abandonment rate on smartphones is higher even than what is mentioned by you. What is not mentioned is what both tablet and smartphone users expect. (1) Full-screen videos (2) Calls To Action (3) No more than 2-3 clicks/touches to consume (4) etc. Tablet users are also not scared to pay for high-end physical products, unlike smartphone users, who generally keep to digital products, although a gradual change is being noticed with those Payment Processors who promote the strength of their security. My educated guess is that m-commerce on tablets within the next 2-3 years will FARRRRRRRR outweigh that done on smartphones. And isn't that what we all wanted from a smartphone anyway? Because that is what tablet is already converging to.

Sign In to Make a Comment

Comments are moderated by Internet Retailer and can be removed.

Not a member? Signup for free today!




Relevant Commentary


Sergio Pereira / B2B E-Commerce

Quill turns to its B2B customers for new ideas

Coming in April is a new section of that will let customers and Quill ...


Charles Nicholls / E-Commerce

E-mail remarketing: three best practices to maximize revenue

Consumers who make it to the shopping cart are interested in buying. The chief strategy ...