August 7, 2014, 2:35 PM

Consumers prefer their web shopping done medium

Tablets beat out smartphones and desktops in online conversions in a new study. But desktop still captures the highest average order value.

Lead Photo

 Medium screens for the win.

When it comes to conversion rates, tablets beat their smaller smartphone counterparts and their larger desktop computer siblings in the U.S. and the U.K.

A new analysis of 2.5 million transactions across 1,600 advertisers spanning retail, travel and telecom from Affiliate Window, finds that the average tablet conversion rate is 5.86%, beating out desktop’s conversion rate of 5.41% and smartphone’s rate of 3%.

Affiliate Window, an affiliate marketing network, compiled the data from transactions on the web and mobile commerce sites of such clients as John Lewis, No. 10 in the Internet Retailer Europe 500 and Marks & Spencer, No.17.  

“We have consistently seen tablet conversion rates outstrip those of other devices,” says Matt Swan, client strategist for Affiliate Window. “We see a smaller share of traffic through tablets, but consumers using tablets have an increased propensity to purchase.”

However, desktop beats tablet in average order value. Tablet’s average order value comes in at $131.76 compared to $151.54 for desktop and $85.10 for smartphones.

“Average order values through tablets are below that of desktop, which points to more impulse purchases through tablets,” Swan says. “With more e-mails typically being picked up on tablet devices, a well-timed offer can trigger a purchase.”

The superior conversion rate is driven by iPads, with Android tablets way behind, Swan adds.

Indeed, Affiliate Window says Android tablets accounted for 30.10% of tablet traffic but only 17.79% of sales. Additionally, iPad typically converts at 3 percentage points above Android tablets and iPad users not only convert at a much higher rate than their Android counterparts, but also spend significantly more when they do, Affiliate Window says.

Affiliate Window also finds that in July:

  • 8,800 sales took place via a smartphone each day on its clients’ sites
  • 15,200 were made through a tablet daily
  • 405 clicks originated from a mobile device (tablet and smartphone) every minute
  • 366 sales were generated through a smartphone each hour
  • 23% of revenue generated for Affiliate Window clients was through a mobile device
  • 36.05% of traffic originated from a mobile device, up from 35.58% in June
  • 18.10% of traffic came from a smartphone, up from 18% in June
  • 30.68% of sales originated from a mobile device, down from 30.86% in June
  • 11.39% of sales came from a smartphone, up from 11.15% in June
  • Android smartphones accounted for 26.45% of smartphone traffic and 26.10% of sales



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