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Mcommerce: Tablets more popular for shopping than smartphones

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7th Jul 2014
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Most of us probably consider the natural evolution of mcommerce to be centred around the smartphone, given the all-encompassing nature of the device.

However, new research from Rakuten shows that tablet use in shopping transactions has grown by 41.9% globally in the past 12 months, with the UK positioned as the world’s leading market for the device, with 12.2% of the public now regularly using tablets to shop compared with around 11% for smartphones.  

Despite this, mobile clearly has a long way to go before it becomes the channel of choice for shoppers, with statistics stating that globally, 81.8% of people still use a PC to make online purchases.

Of these purchases, clothing and accessories are polled as the most sought-after items bought online, worldwide. In the UK, 69% of shoppers order clothing online, with DVDs, books and housewares next in line for popularity.

Consumer electronics came out on top in Brazil, with more than half (55.1%) of shoppers buying electrical items online, while in Japan, shoppers are most likely to order or download books and magazines with 59.7% of people doing so. In the UK, 69% of shoppers order clothing and accessories online, while other popular categories include CDs and DVDs, books, housewares and small appliances. Brits are least likely to buy flowers and gift arrangements online, with 87% of shoppers preferring to make these purchases in person.

“We’re continuing to see a shift in how consumers interact with retailers through digital channels,” says Carol Dray, the marketing director of Rakuten-owned Play.com. “Just four years after the launch of Apple’s iPad, tablets are fast-becoming the most popular device for shopping online. With tablet’s larger displays offering a more enjoyable experience than most smartphones, it seems bigger is better, however many retailers are failing to measure up when optimising their online presence and apps. Retailers are missing a trick by not tapping into this trend and delivering a tablet-orientated experience to shoppers.”

Rakuten’s research also suggests that the desire for the public to make shopping recommendations via social media may be stagnating, with data showing that 41.9% of people now recommend items they have bought via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest, down from 44% last year. Brands are having to work harder and harder to share their purchasing decisions with friends; in the UK, only around 30% of people regularly review and recommend products.

“Social remains an important channel for retailers to engage consumers and ‘crowdsource’ opinions about new products and services,” Carol Dray adds. “Aside from influencing stocking decisions, recommendations shared on social sites are also impacting consumer buying habits. Many shoppers now turn to sites like Pinterest or Twitter to discover products that they might like to buy and to find out what others thought of these items, before making a purchase. Retailers can drive sales by interacting with consumers through these channels and making it easier to share recommendations.”

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