The importance of appealing to the iPad shopper

A study by market research giant Nielsen has discovered that iPad owners are more likely to engage with mobile advertising—and make a purchase from them—than other connected device users. Thus, with tablet sales expected to hit 19.5 million by the end of the year (dominated by the iPad), m-commerce is expected to surge.

Why might this be? First to state the obvious- iPads are expensive so as even the technological-literate at PC Mag admit, owners “don’t mind paying a few dollars for content”, with 63% of them paying for apps- the most popular being games, music and books. Nielsen also paints rather a precise figure of the typical iPad user- young (63 percent are under 35), male (65 percent) and educated (51% have a Bachelors degree or higher), with only the Amazon Kindle attracting a more wealthy and intellectual buyer. So in theory, the demographics of the iPad users themselves suggest a proclivity to buying more.

However, Nielsen revealed that tablets to also hold the power to get their users clicking on those ads, as Apple iPad owners also spend more time on their devices than other smartphone users. They are therefore more likely to consume print and video content through their tablets. Moreover, looking more closely at user-advert engagement on the iPad, the study uncovered that nearly half were more likely to click into an ad with an interesting video or interactive feature, compared to less than 40 percent of iPhone and other device users. Not that mobile ads have to be fancy: 40 percent of iPad users said they were more likely to click on simple text ads compared to 25 percent of other device users. So with the iPad predicted to dominate the tablet market until 2012 at least, this looks like further good news for the Big Apple Inc.

However, there is also news likely to brighten the boardroom of any tablet manufacturer as a further report, by Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, found that tablet owners have a higher likelihood of making a purchase online (a 4-5% conversion rate as opposed to a PC’s 3% rate), in addition to buying more per visit- sometimes 10 percent to 20 percent larger than shoppers using PCs or smartphones. Again the causes being due to a combination of the user’s characteristics and also the device itself- its portability and large touchscreens making people more comfortable to browse. As such, AdWeek reports that retailers are scrambling to find ways to appeal to these shop-happy tablet owners- either through revamping their websites to be more tablet-friendly by finding alternatives to Flash, which the iPad doesn’t support; creating special tablet-only catalogs, or partnering with catalog-aggregation sites. All this making me a tad more envious, but also financially relieved, that I am without a tablet.


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