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How Consumers Are Using Tablets—and Why You Should Care

May 28th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Remember when tablet computers first hit the market and experts predicted waves of consumers researching products and shopping in-store on the devices? That hasn’t quite panned out, but two recent studies offer insights into how and where consumers are using the devices.

In spite of their portability, a recent study by Viacom reported in eMarketer found tablet computers being used inside the home 74 percent of the time. Considering that the biggest use so far of the devices is for entertainment—playing games or watching videos—that makes a lot of sense. More than 90 percent of users used their tablets in the living room or bedroom. However, three-fourths used them in a home office.

When they weren’t at home, the most common place for consumers to use tablets was the airport or on an airplane. Just 36 percent used tablets in stores.

What do these figures mean for you? Clearly, consumers aren’t lugging tablets to stores to compare prices of products—they’re doing that on their smartphones. In other words, instead of being a quick price-comparison device, tablets are being used for more leisurely browsing at home, including researching products before shoppers head out to stores.

If you own a store or ecommerce site and haven’t yet developed a tablet-friendly strategy for your business, a new study by Adobe may convince you to get moving. The study, reported in TabTimes, found that tablets already generate more Web traffic than smartphones, and are rapidly catching up to PCs. Adobe predicts tablets will surpass smartphones in terms of Web traffic by early 2013.

The number of visits to websites from tablets more than tripled in 2011, and Adobe found that Web browsing on tablets is growing 10 times faster than smartphones. By 2014, Adobe predicts that tablet browsing could account for 10 percent of all website traffic.

While PCs still predominate in terms of Web visits (users are still three times more likely to visit websites through the PC than through the tablet), Adobe says this is most likely due to the fact that PCs still outnumber tablets in the market. As the adoption of tablets grows, we’ll see more and more Web traffic through tablet devices.

Image by Flickr user Kathleen Murtagh (Creative Commons)



The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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