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Tablet Ownership Booms for Marketers

25 Aug 2011

According to a new report by Forrester Research, in partnership with Bizrate Insights, the number of Americans owning tablet devices is forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 51 per cent between 2010 and 2015, while tablet commerce is expected to grow rapidly over the same period. 9 per cent of surveyed online shoppers say they own a tablet device; among them, 78 per cent own a smartphone as well, while 22 per cent of tablet owners (2 per cent of online shoppers) own a tablet only.

Shopping online is a popular activity among tablet owners: 47 per cent of tablet owners say they've purchased something via their tablet and an additional 13 per cent have shopped via tablet without buying.

Among online shoppers who own tablets, most prefer tablets to smartphones when buying online and most find their tablet as easy to use as their computer when doing so:


  • 72 per cent of Gen X, 67 per cent of Boomers, and 65 per cent of Gen Y say they use their tablet more than their smartphone to shop online
  • 62 per cent of Gen X, 60 per cent of Gen Y, and 57 per cent of Boomers say it's just as easy to visit and buy from retail sites via tablet as it is via PC


Some Key highlights of the report include such things as:

  • Market size & demographics
  • Market penetration for Tablets has increased from 9 per cent pre-iPad2 release to 12 per cent post release
  • 26 per cent of those who do not currently own a Tablet plan to purchase one within the next year
  • Most owners are Generation X or Baby Boomers, their average household income is over $109,000 (56 per cent greater than non-Tablet owners), and nearly half have children under 18
  • 75 per cent of Tablet owners bought their Tablet to complement their other devices


Tablet ownership among online buyers skews female, as does ecommerce overall. Within each gender, a greater percentage of men own the device than women. Tablet ownership is highly correlated to household income, with owners having significantly higher household income levels than non-Tablet owners.

Tablet owners are valuable customers for online retailers:

  • 60 per cent have shopped online with their Tablet; of those, 78 per cent have placed an order using their Tablet
  • Tablet owners spent 28 per cent more per order on average on orders than non-Tablet owners
  • 56 per cent have downloaded a shopping app; retailer specific apps are the most popular


Men are participating in ecommerce through their Tablets at a greater rate than women: 63 per cent of men have shopped, with 81 per cent converting to purchase, while 58 per cent of women have shopped, and 75 per cent have converted to purchase. 37 per cent of those who have not shopped online with their tablet say they "haven't needed to, or haven't thought to."

The Tablet is increasing the total amount of time spent online:

  • 49 per cent of Tablet owners report spending more time online than they did prior to owning a Tablet and 42 per cent are spending the same amount of time online
  • The most common complaints of 56 per cent of owners who have shopped online through their Tablet are that the experience is limited (unlike on a computer), it's difficult to click on what they want, and the lack of support for Flash technology


While often considered a mobile device, says the report, Tablets are most frequently used at home. The top three locations for usage are the family room/living room, the bedroom, and the airport/airplanes. Outside of the top three locations, a greater percentage of men tend to use their tablets in a stationary environment, such as the office, whereas a greater percentage of women use their Tablets in the car and at restaurants or coffee shops.

As adoption grows, tablets will likely provide at-home and portable (but not truly mobile) shopping experiences, while the role of smartphones solidifies as a complement to the in-store shopping experience, Forrester notes.

Source: Mediapost

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