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One tablet generates as many website visits as four smartphones, according to data from Adobe's Digital Index Report.

By the end of Q1 2012 smartphones accounted for 6.1% of site visits compared to 4.3% on tablet.

However, smartphones only maintain a greater share of website visits due to the lower penetration rate of tablets.

The report highlights that from 2010 through to 2011 there were 5.3 times more smartphones shipped across North America and Western Europe compared to tablets.

Adobe predicts that at its current rate of growth tablet traffic will surpass smartphone traffic within 12 months.

Within a year of its launch in Q2 2010 the iPad accounted for 1% of total website visits, reaching 4.3% of total visits by the end of 2011.

In contrast, within the first two years of the iPhone market entry, smartphones accounted for 0.4% of total website visits, taking nearly three years to reach 1% of total visits.

If this trend continues then tablets will account for more than 10% of website visits in 2014.

But Adobe’s report isn’t the first piece of research to highlight the growing popularity of tablets.

A recent survey by InMobi and Mobext found that 69% of tablet owners make a purchase on their device every month.

This highlights the fact that e-tailers need to have a tablet strategy in place.

Our comprehensive blog post, 'tablets: the opportunity for marketers', has a number of tips for how advertisers should seek to target tablet users.

However, we should also be careful not to overstate the importance of tablets, as despite similar levels of engagement PCs drive disproportionately more website visits than tablets.

Adobe’s report shows across North America and Western Europe there were six times more PCs shipped than tablets in between 2009 and 2011.

Yet in Q1 2012 PCs accounted for 19 times more website visits.

The reasons for this are fairly obvious – people use PCs all day at work, and most tablet owners will also use a PC for browsing at home.

Adobe report also appears to fail to take into account the millions of PCs in existence before 2009.

Finally, the data shows that tablet users are more likely to use their device to visit certain types of websites.

For example, consumers consider tablets and PCs to be nearly interchangeable for media consumption and for repeated interactions with financial service providers.

“This suggests that consumers consider tablets to be similar to PCs for visits that are repeated, routine, involve passive consumption of content, and so on.”

However, PC conversion rates are much higher than tablet for retail and travel sites, “suggesting that consumers prefer PCs for visits involving research, comparison of alternatives, and online purchasing.”

Adobe's Digital Index Report presents findings from an analysis of 23bn visits made to more than 325 mobile and traditional brand websites from January to March of 2010, 2011 and 2012.

David Moth

Published 15 May, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1679 more posts from this author

Comments (9)

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Andreas Pouros

Andreas Pouros, Co-founder & COO at Greenlight

Very insightful - thanks David. Viewing this from the advertisers perspective adds a further dimension - According to recent research by ad management company FreeWheel, via Pace Lattin,

'Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the top non-PC platform for viewing professional digital video content and ads in the first quarter of 2012 - beating out iPad, iPhone and Android devices'.

Microsoft essentially expanded its Xbox advertising programme last month, allowing content owners to place 15 and 30 second spots in video content on the Xbox Live Subscription service. Advertisers include ESPN, CBS, Last.fm, etc.

Basically, the Xbox has higher penetration in US households than the iPad has (according to Nielson) with the former at 26% and the latter at 15%.

The game has changed (pun very much intended).

over 4 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

The Xbox is definitely an interesting case - Microsoft is pushing hard for it to be more than just a games console:

http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/8424-could-the-future-of-xbox-live-be-g-commerce

However I don't think it will take long for tablets to become more common than the Xbox in US households. As although Xbox has millions of users worldwide, its appeal is probably still limited to gamers even though you can use it for other forms of entertainment. In contrast, I think the potential market place for tablets is much broader.

over 4 years ago

Simon West

Simon West, Chairman at Nett Sales LLP

We're seeing very similar results from email campaigns. Recipients are significantly more likely to follow a link from an iPad than an iPhone (or other mobile phone).

We see a number of factors influencing this behaviour including how most websites look on mobile phone screens, bundled data plans and uncertainty over how long a website will take to load.

Maybe we need a new standard link format and colour for mobile friendly links?? Then recipients would know they will be accessing a fast to load site that displays well on a small screen...

over 4 years ago

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Simon Raistrick

Define 'tablet'! With the latest raft of android slab-phones, they're looking more like tablets every day. I think we might need to revise the idea that there is a boundary between the two.

Great insights though, and an interesting read.

over 4 years ago

Gerry White

Gerry White, Techical SEO Director at SiteVisibility

I agree with Simon - a HTC Wildfire vs a Note is like comparing, well, it isn't really a comparison - I was in the pub on Friday (actually quite unusual for me) and discussing a film that someone had never seen! Within minutes I had ordered it for him on Amazon, half my ebay purchases are done on a phone and my laptop is really just for work / dev purposes ...

My Xbox is great for watching Sky, Lovefilm etc.. (and games) and I think it will replace the DVD / Bluray player, but I have never seen a purchase on a PS3 or Wii out of thousands of purchases, that said I haven't really been looking too much! The "on tv" browser on the Sony, well, I have a mobile in my hand that works...

over 4 years ago

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Rahman @ Travel Marketing Blog

Insightful read! Thanks for the head-up!

It tells us another story too: We must design and optimize for tablets as well as smartphones when our websites are being constructed. More tablet users means more tablet-generated visitors and they must not be disappointed.

I think travel-related websites that need to showcase their destinations, accommodations, etc, will have to think twice as to how to display their images, videos, etc to be properly seen on these devices.

Rahman Mehraby
TraveList Marketing Blog

over 4 years ago

Christian Louca

Christian Louca, Founder - New Mobile Start-Up at Stealth Mode

I agree with Simon and Gerry. It is becoming harder and harder to differentiate between a smartphone and tablet. However, there are two distinctive behaviours that will not change. Browsing the internet 'at home' and 'on the go'. There is a certain size tablet that will mainly stay at home for the internet browsing as described in the article such as an iPad or other earlier tablet devices. In parallel, the newer smaller devices such as Galaxy Note that blur the line between smartphone and tablet lean towards being a device that access information 'on the go' and equally 'at home'. The key difference is they are delivering a larger visual experience 'on the go' and a larger enough experience to access the internet 'at home' that could be considered richer than traditional smartphones. Maybe we should call them internetphones :)

over 4 years ago

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Website

I’m glad it was useful to me. Thanks for your work. Ill be in touch

over 4 years ago

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Carrasco

I just got a brand new iPad (3rd Gen) to exchange my original iPad and
I wished a quite protective scenario for it. I'd an OtterBox Defender situation on my original iPad and loved it. My original iPad even now seemed brand name new thanks to the OtterBox (and a display screen protector) and I wanted the same protection for my new 1. I read the reviews in the OtterBox Defender circumstance for the iPad 2 and wasn't also optimistic. It seemed to become strike or miss regardless of whether you got a great one particular or one that would fall aside on you. I'm happy to say that both they enhanced the good quality in the new one particular or I just got fortunate.

about 4 years ago

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