At the iPhone 5 launch event in September 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed out an interesting statistic about the tablet market: the iPad owns a disproportionate share of web browsing traffic from tablets (91% at the time of Cook's remarks). Other platform's tablets may be selling, but they don't seem to be getting used all that much.
That usage trend is continuing, based on IBM's retail analytics report covering Black Friday's online shopping surge. With online sales on Friday up 20.7% year-over-year, there was a lot of clicking going on -- and quite a bit of tapping, too. Sales via a mobile device hit 16% of all online sales, up from almost 10% the previous year; mobile visits to shopping sites climbed to 24% of consumers, up 10 percentage points from 2011.
The big kahuna in the mobile shopping landscape: the iPad. Apple's tablet "generated more traffic than any other tablet or smartphone, reaching nearly 10 percent of online shopping," according to IBM's report. The next device in line was the iPhone, with 8.7% of shopping traffic, then all Android devices combined with 5.5% of traffic. The iPad's 10% slice of mobile retail translates to a whopping 88.3% of tablet shopping traffic, with the Nook, Kindle and Samsung Galaxy tablets all eking out shares of 3% or less.
What accounts for this overwhelming shopping spree from iPad owners? Maybe they've got more gift-giving disposable income than Nook or Galaxy Tab buyers, or may simply be more inclined to shop online than other tablet customers. I suspect, however, that they're simply more comfortable and confident using their iPads than other tablet owners are for tasks that traditionally would require a desktop or laptop: banking, travel, general web browsing -- and shopping.
With its large screen (iPad mini aside) and graceful browsing experience, the iPad can facilitate impulse buying and second-screen shopping that users can do without ever leaving the couch ("Gosh, I would go order that fondue set, but it's such a long walk to the computer in the den!"). Hundreds of retailers have also invested in developing shopping apps for the iPad, with catalog vendors right there as well. Magical, revolutionary... and ever so convenient.
Photo by Polycart | flickr cc