The overwhelming evidence of consumers shifting to mobile is forcing brands to quickly evaluate how to incorporate tablets and smartphones into their digital strategy. Nielsen research showed that 46 percent of US mobile consumers had smartphones as of Q42011, and that figure has continued to quickly grow. In fact, a recent study by IDC revealed that more people in the United States will access the web via mobile devices than via wireline computers by 2015. The drive to mobile begs the question: what’s the best path to monetize mobile?
According to research by Adobe, tablet users spend over 50% more on online purchases when compared with smartphone users. Adobe analyzed roughly 16.2 billion online transactions from 150 top U.S. retailers in 2011 for the study. Additionally, the report concluded that tablet users are three times more likely to make a purchase than smartphone users. The findings are not surprising when considering that the browser on a tablet is more similar to one a PC than on a smartphone. For example, in-line videos on an iPad do not play within a native player as they do on an iPhone. Essentially, the display size on the smartphone, which is typically 3.5″ to 4.7″ does not provides enough room for a user to view a website. Thus, the smartphone is relegated to in-aisle product comparisons experiences whereas the full-form tablets are used for in-home browsing and purchases.
The study demonstrates that brands need to look beyond a one-size-fits-all for mobile screens. Instead, brands need to consider guiding visitors from one screen to the next. While brands can certainly hope that visitors will naturally shift from an in-aisle, smartphone-browsing experience to an at home, full-website shopping experience on a tablet or a desktop, they can instead take advantage of in-app purchases to more easily convert visitors into customers. But in the next two years, brands should also expect to fine-tune their mobile strategies as the display size on smartphone devices expands. For example, Samsung is rolling out the Galaxy Note in Q1 2012 which will feature a whopping 5.3″ display. As these devices become more commonplace, the blurring line between smartphones and tablets will drive consumers to complete their purchase with their smartphones.