Tablet adoption, although well below the 50%+ penetration levels enjoyed by smartphones, is still growing rapidly. Deloittes recently reported 3m device owners, approximately 6% of the UK adult population – more than double the penetration in 2010.
But despite lagging well behind smartphones in numbers, the tablet is punching well above its weight when it comes to its influence on online advertising and ecommerce.
In terms of responsiveness to advertising, tablet owners are well ahead of their smartphone equivalents. A Nielsen study found that ad recall was higher than on smartphones - 72% had recalled seeing an ad on their tablet vs. 62% on their smartphone - and more users reached for their tablet (28%) than their smartphone (18%) to look up a product after a seeing a TV ad.
In terms of ecommerce, a study by Logan Tod & Co., found tablets rivalling smartphones for their influence on ecommerce, with 14% of their survey having used a tablet to make a purchase for Christmas 2011 compared with 15% who had used their smartphone. In addition, an Adobe study found that tablet owners spent more on their devices than did smartphone (+54%) or PC users (+21%).
And with the iPad 3, and other developments in the tablet market in 2012, the influence of the tablet is set to grow.
The iPad 3’s HD screen, with 1m pixels more than a standard HD TV screen and a colour palette of 3m pixels, offers additional scope for premium and luxury advertisers to better showcase their wares, including via HD quality video. It’s 4G connectivity will offer increasing scope for fast, convenient shopping on the go when the UK’s mobile networks catch up with its technical spec – hopefully sometime next year. And the very fact it’s out in the market will drive down the price of the iPad 2, hence widening adoption in the tablet market.
The other significant development will be the launch of the UK version of the more accessibly priced Kindle Fire at a date yet to be confirmed this year, which will further deepen penetration of these devices within the UK market.
Our advice to premium and luxury marketers would be to pay close attention to their web stats – what proportion of their traffic is coming from tablets and what are those tablet users doing in the site should be the starting point for deciding whether a tablet optimised site is appropriate. If traffic is significant and the site has been optimised, there’s probably a case for some trials of iPad advertising or for developing iPad specific apps.
Even those for whom the stats don’t make a compelling case as yet should keep things monitored – tablets are far from killing the PC yet but the obituary is beginning to be written.