Apple's iPad driving e-commerce as market shifts from desktop-based purchases

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A new study claims the rapid rise of tablet computing is not only driving e-commerce, but is changing the market's landscape, prompting many traditional retailers to respond by revamping their online storefronts to accommodate devices like Apple's iPad.

iPad mini


In its Ecommerce Quarterly report for the third quarter of 2012, e-commerce solutions provider Monetate found that a groundswell in tablet-based purchases is quickly eroding the share of buys made from desktops, and Apple's iPad is leading the shift.

Monetate provides software as a service (SaaS) technology to some of the biggest retailers in the world, allowing companies like Macy's, Best Buy, QVC and others, to dynamically provide consumer-targeted content. The firm took samples from over 100 enterprise brands in its study which includes the sale of physical goods via the internet.

According to a breakdown of traffic by device, the websites tracked by Monetate saw visits from traditional desktop and laptop browsers drop from 92.33 percent to 81.60 percent in one year as mobile devices like smartphones and tablets more than doubled their respective marketshare. For the three-month period ending in September, tablets accounted for 8.37 percent of all website visits, up from 3.16 percent in 2011, while smartphones jumped from 4.51 percent to 10.03 percent over the same span.

Monetate's Chief Marketing Officer Kurt Heinemann told AppleInsider that he expects the trend to continue as new devices like Apple's iPad mini go to market.

"I truly believe that the tablet is best used as an 'in-house' mobile device -- it's a replacement for the desktop or the laptop," Heinemann said. "The mobile device is really that second screen experience; it's really married to [a user's] media experience in a different way than the desktop."

He went on to compare tablets with smartphones, noting that handsets are best suited for "out-of-the-house" use, while devices like the iPad often accompany consumers as they watch TV or lounge about the home. Of tablet owners who frequent e-commerce sites, the preferred device appears to be the iPad.

Website Visits
Source: Monetate


For the third quarter, the iPad accounted for 88.94 percent of all website visits originating from tablets, followed by Android devices with 6.34 percent and the Kindle Fire with 4.71 percent. As for smartphones, the iPhone's 60.85 percent led the 37.59 percent of traffic garnered by Android-based handsets. Windows Phone accounted for only 0.91 percent of all visits tallied by Monetate.

Conversion Rates and Tablet Form Factors

Arguably more important than site traffic for e-commerce retailers is the number of hits that translate into sales, a metric known as the conversion rate.

For quarter three, tablets were nearly on par with traditional computing, with 3.12 percent of hits actually turning into a sale. Looking at the numbers, the iPad's conversion rate was 3.17 percent, compared to 3.19 percent seen by all Android tablets. Heinemann pointed out that the 7-inch Kindle Fire was at the bottom with 2.06 percent. He explained that many websites don't translate well to the smaller form factor, with clumsy pull-down menus, font sizes and small buttons hurting the overall shopping experience.

Overall, the numbers speak to both Heinemann's theory of "in-house" mobile devices and the primary importance of user experience.

Conversion Rates


Much of the success for any one retail site depends on how a potential shopper interacts, or fails to interact, with the website's design. Paramount to the experience is what Heinemann calls "responsive design," or the level to which a site is streamlined with consumer-targeted content. Apple's iOS excels in this area, with mobile Safari being largely consistent with its desktop counterpart.

Backing up that claim is mobile Safari's massive share of the browser market, which in quarter three was bested only by the desktop version of Chrome and the well-entrenched Internet Explorer. Apple's iOS-centric Safari grew from 7.50 percent of the market to 17.25 percent over the past year, while Microsoft's Explorer saw four straight quarters of decline and dropped from a 47.02 percent share to 35.95 percent in the three-month period ending in September.

Browser Share

The iPad mini Effect

Despite the relatively low-performing form factor introduced seen in the 7-inch Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7, Heinemann said the comparably-sized iPad mini will become a major player in not only driving e-commerce conversion rates, but changing the way retailers format their digital storefronts.

Although there isn't enough data to offer conclusive evidence of what impact the mini will have on internet-based sales, Heinemann believes the tablet will begin to affect the market in early 2013, and could see performance surpassing that of the full-sized iPad.

"The impact is going to be massive in terms of website design," he said of Apple's new small form factor iPad.

Apple's installed user base, plus the wider market penetration of the iPad brand will likely push retailers to create sites tailored to the mini and work up from there.

"I think what you're going to see is the iPad mini becoming almost a standard design format, because if you can design for the iPad mini, it's going to work on the [full size] iPad, it's going to work on the desktop," Heinemann said. "So instead of taking the desktop and working it down to the iPad mini , think about taking your iPad mini experience and working it up to the desktop. It's going to be that important."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    Love that wallpaper on the mini in the story photo.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    asciiascii Posts: 5,852member
    Website design? How about making an app for your store.
  • Reply 3 of 27

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ascii View Post



    Website design? How about making an app for your store.


    1- App means you pay 30% to Apple on digital goods, right?


    2- So the Web is dead, the open world is gone, Microsoft won through it's Apple investment instead of Internet Explorer?

  • Reply 4 of 27
    asciiascii Posts: 5,852member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


    1- App means you pay 30% to Apple on digital goods, right?


    2- So the Web is dead, the open world is gone, Microsoft won through it's Apple investment instead of Internet Explorer?



    You're right, apps aren't really suited to stores due to Apple's cut, but perhaps they are better for most things. So the web will survive but become mostly store fronts? 


     


    p.s. I think MS sold their Apple shares some time ago.

  • Reply 5 of 27
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,249member
    1- App means you pay 30% to Apple on digital goods, right?
    2- So the Web is dead, the open world is gone, Microsoft won through it's Apple investment instead of Internet Explorer?

    This 30% whining gets really old. Aplpe provides a one-stop shop that millions of users can access, handles distribution, updates, credit card services, etc. That 30% is a great deal compared to a developer doing all that on their own and only having access to a minuscule - almost insignificant - number of users.

    So get off your cheapskate high horse okay? You want to go to to a real market and make major money and not pay a % fee, go to Android. Oh wait, no one makes money on it. Hmm.. Go to Windows8. Oh wait, they demands % cut too...

    So what are you crying about??
  • Reply 6 of 27
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member


    These stats pretty much reflect the size of the installed base. Much better than saying, Apple users 330% more likely to shop for Black Friday on their device than Android users, with absolutely no context. Some interesting data here.


     


    Android smartphone users have a higher conversion rate than iPhone users.  That clearly contradicts conventional wisdom about Android users not spending.  Tablet users are substantially higher than smartphone users.  And iPad and Android tablet users aren't all that far apart.

  • Reply 7 of 27
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ascii View Post



    Website design? How about making an app for your store.


     


    Unless absolutely necessary for added functionality, I fail to see the point.  A website can serve multiple platforms. An app can serve one platform.  For a store trying to get more eyeballs, why would they ever restrict themselves like that?  And have to deal with Apple's BS on app licensing on top of it....all for what amounts largely to a containerized webpage.

  • Reply 8 of 27
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member
    sflocal wrote: »
    This 30% whining gets really old. Aplpe provides a one-stop shop that millions of users can access, handles distribution, updates, credit card services, etc. That 30% is a great deal compared to a developer doing all that on their own and only having access to a minuscule - almost insignificant - number of users.
    So get off your cheapskate high horse okay? You want to go to to a real market and make major money and not pay a % fee, go to Android. Oh wait, no one makes money on it. Hmm.. Go to Windows8. Oh wait, they demands % cut too...
    So what are you crying about??

    But then they'll be limited to iOS consumers whereas a tablet optimized website can be viewed across multiple platforms.
  • Reply 9 of 27


    Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

    2- So the Web is dead, the open world is gone, Microsoft won through it's Apple investment instead of Internet Explorer?


     


    Yes, let's bring up this fifteen year old lie to make a point that is invalid on the face of it.

  • Reply 10 of 27
    chabigchabig Posts: 621member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    But then they'll be limited to iOS consumers whereas a tablet optimized website can be viewed across multiple platforms.


    There is little I hate more than a "tablet optimized website". The whole point of putting a desktop class browser on the tablet was to render the "real web", not a dumbed down version.

  • Reply 11 of 27
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    ascii wrote: »
    Website design? How about making an app for your store.

    I don't see the point. Make a single site for every device, not a particular brand. Also, I get very annoyed at the sites that pop up notices they have an app that does what the site does already. Some are nice, but often they cut out a control somewhere, meaning I need to go to the real site to perform a task anyway.

    chabig wrote: »
    There is little I hate more than a "tablet optimized website". The whole point of putting a desktop class browser on the tablet was to render the "real web", not a dumbed down version.

    I agree.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member
    chabig wrote: »
    There is little I hate more than a "tablet optimized website". The whole point of putting a desktop class browser on the tablet was to render the "real web", not a dumbed down version.

    Same here. I always request the desktop version.
  • Reply 13 of 27
    Me three. I get annoyed when they popup a message that I should get the iPad app for their website.
  • Reply 14 of 27
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by chabig View Post


    There is little I hate more than a "tablet optimized website". The whole point of putting a desktop class browser on the tablet was to render the "real web", not a dumbed down version.



    There are layouts that just don't scale all that well but are terrific on a full sized screen.

  • Reply 15 of 27
    Its called mobile first and responsive design.
  • Reply 16 of 27


    Does anybody know where I could get the wallpaper shown on iPad Mini. It is an awesome wallpaper with nice detail to it.


     


    Thanks

  • Reply 17 of 27
    Does anybody know where I could get the wallpaper shown on iPad Mini. It is an awesome wallpaper with nice detail to it.

    Thanks

    It's already on your iPad
  • Reply 18 of 27


    Thanks !!!!!!!!!!! Never thought I would have the best wallpaper stored as standard. :-P

  • Reply 19 of 27
    jetz wrote: »
    Android smartphone users have a higher conversion rate than iPhone users.  That clearly contradicts conventional wisdom about Android users not spending.  Tablet users are substantially higher than smartphone users.  And iPad and Android tablet users aren't all that far apart.

    I thought of that more as impulsivity to buy stuff. But the difference is too small to talk much about at the moment. My thinking of it as impulsivity is more a characterization of techy gadget people, which is a category of person I reject being, despite my love of GOOD technology. I'm kind of bashing android users with this commentary, thinking that they are the same as the population of nerds and geeks responsible for user bashing and "it's the user at fault, not the tech" mentality. I could be totally wrong about that.
  • Reply 20 of 27
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member
    ascii wrote: »
    Website design? How about making an app for your store.
    1- App means you pay 30% to Apple on digital goods, right?
    2- So the Web is dead, the open world is gone, Microsoft won through it's Apple investment instead of Internet Explorer?

    The 30% only applies to digit products used in the app or a subscription for use within the app. There are thousands of shopping apps in the app store and none of them process transactions through Apple. I prefer the web sites to most of the apps on my iPad (For the sites I use anyway).
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