Tablets Trump Smartphones in Average Order Value

Forty-nine percent of retailers have found the average order value of a tablet transaction to be higher than that of a traditional Web sale. And at least 28 percent of retailers have averaged the same value across channels, according to Shop.org and Forrester Research's "State of Retailing Online 2012" benchmark report, which will be released in full this June.

Tablets continue to trump smartphones as the consumer's primary vehicle for mobile purchases, the research indicates. Surveying 59 retailers, it's estimated that 3.2 percent of total Web sales last year were made on tablets; 1.5 percent were attributed to smartphones. While Shop.org's executive director Vicki Cantrell said that "we expect smartphone shopping rates to stay low," the growing ubiquity of tablets has called for deeper insight into consumer buying patterns.

"We know that tablets draw a significant amount of incremental usage—that's the forty-nine percent of consumers saying that the tablet actually encourages them to spend more time online," Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, said during the National Retail Federation's Annual Convention and Expo in New York this winter.

Some Gen-X and Gen-Y consumers are trending toward the purchase of an iPad as their preferred device over a standard PC, which "poses a question for developers: Even though this is a device where a single-digit percent of your user base may be on, how much of [an investment] needs to go there if the consumer prefers to access content on a device like this?"

While the State of Retailing Online found that retailers' Web traffic still surfaced most from search or email, QR codes continue to gain ground in mobile marketing—75 percent of retailers report using some form of QR bar code reader in targeting consumers.

The report found some discrepancy between the size of the retailer and their mobile marketing method of choice. For small (less than $10 million in revenue) and large (more than $100 million) companies, QR codes were the most popular form of mobile marketing. But for midsized retailers, mobile email optimization came in over QR codes.

"Eventually, we expect that retailers will grow their mobile marketing budgets to address the fact that the mobile channel has unique aspects, like location-triggered messaging, that can be compelling ways for brands to connect with shoppers," Mulpuru said, in a statement. It's estimated that 3.9 percent of retailers' interactive marketing budgets will go toward mobile advertising this year, the report indicated.

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