For many of us, the Interwebz are still relatively new territory. Sure, we know our way around, are a part of 15 different social initiatives and have probably won an eBay auction or two. But buying things, especially electronics, from the Internet raises quite a bit of concern and skepticism in a large number of consumers.
That said, the growth of outfits like Amazon, who sometimes cut out the middleman and offer products at much lower prices, create quite a bit of stress for brick and mortar locations. Thus, a lot buyers have taken to the Internet as a means of purchasing goods and retailers' attention and business has slowly been transitioning to e-commerce.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Recent findings from online retailers reveal that conversion rates (number of purchases divided by total views) of tablet users are unusually high – four or five percent, compared to three percent from traditional users. Not only are tablet shoppers quicker to pull the trigger on a deal; they often spend 10 to 20 percent more per transaction, too. Dana Mattioli of The Wall Street Journal states that while "only 9% of online shoppers own tablets, their behavior is encouraging for retailers."
Siva Kumar, CEO of TheFind, which has an app for iOS and Android, says that its catalog application has a conversion rate of about 10 percent higher than its website and users tend to spend roughly three times as much time in the application. Also, his findings coincide with other retailers in that orders from within the app – users shopping via tablets – tend to be 10 to 20 percent higher than from the site.
None of this should really come as a surprise, though. There are several explanations. Those who have pulled the trigger and bought a tablet, though this will change quite soon (no thanks to the Kindle Fire), likely have more money to throw around. That, and current tablet owners are early adopters; they're more open to new ideas and technology. Mattioli says:
"Tablet owners tend to be wealthier, which gives retailers a self-selected audience of their best customers. They may also be encouraged to spend by less tangible attributes: large touchscreens that draw users into the content, and a portability that helps users get more comfortable than when surfing on PCs."
So what exactly does this mean for us, the users? It means that we will begin to see online stores become more tablet-optimized and hopefully more applications like Amazon Windowshop or TheFind for more tablets and mobile platforms. By optimizing the mobile experience, they will be able to cater to the wants and needs of a very select and high probability market. Conversion rates are already higher than normal, so offering a better shopping experience could only work to the advantage of these online retailers.
Not only are tablet owners more susceptible to impulsive buying from web stores, they're open to a whole different genre of content: applications, eBooks, movie rentals, media streaming services and various cloud services. All of these things add up, and tablet owners can quickly find themselves spending more than they had originally planned.
This definitely doesn't come as a surprise to me. I'm a huge advocate of the tablet trend and since finding a way to incorporate a tablet into my daily life has also upped my compulsive spending. I find myself frequenting Amazon's web store and daily deal sites quite often from my tablet rather than my computer. Sitting on the couch on the rare occasion that I have down time, I fire up the Galaxy Tab and let myself get carried away in shopping sites around the web, or peruse Android Market for some more useful applications that I will never actually use. My wallet is weeping.
What about you guys and gals? Do you shop from your tablet? Has your online shopping activity increased since you bought your tablet? Would you like to see a better shopping environment for tablets (more apps, optimized web stores, etc.)?