Tablet Owners Likelier to Click ‘Buy’

And they're making bigger purchases too

Headshot of Emma Bazilian

There’s something about owning a tablet that makes consumers want to shop online. Although only 9 percent of online shoppers have a tablet, their owners are actually likelier than their PC counterparts to make a purchase while browsing retail sites, and they’re likely to buy more, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, the likelihood of a shopper to make a purchase—known as the conversion rate, which is found by dividing orders by total visit—is 3 percent for shoppers using a PC, while the rate for tablet users is slightly higher, around 4 percent or 5 percent. At the same time, retailers found that people who make purchases on their tablets are putting in bigger orders—sometimes 10 percent to 20 percent larger than shoppers using PCs or smartphones.

So why are tablet owners so eager to click “buy”? According to a Forrester Research survey, consumers spend more time browsing the Web after buying a tablet, and nearly half of them shop from the tablet. Tablet owners also tend to be wealthier. And then there’s the appeal of using the devices. The large touchscreens and portability make people more comfortable browsing on their tablets than on their PCs, says the WSJ.

Now, retailers are scrambling to find ways to appeal to these shop-happy tablet owners. Retailers are revamping their websites to be more tablet-friendly—meaning finding alternatives to Flash, which the iPad doesn’t support. Others are creating special tablet-only catalogs, or partnering with catalog-aggregation sites like Google and TheFind that offer tablet apps.

And so far, it seems to be working. Retailers including Macy’s, the Gap, and QVC all said that they’re seeing higher conversion rates from shoppers using tablets rather than smartphones or PCs, while TheFind said that the conversion rate for people who browse catalogs with its tablet app is 10 percent higher than for people who visit its website.

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.
Publish date: September 28, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT