iPad conversion rates are double that of desktop, and almost twice as high as other mobile devices, according to stats that show the value of tablet users for online retailers. 

According to stats from Affiliate Window’s M-commerce white paper, the average conversion rate for iPad was 3.82% in August, compared to 1.9% for desktop (i.e. non-mobile).

The stats suggest that retailers need to optimise their websites to take full advantage of iPad shoppers. 

About the data

The data here is taken from Affiliate Window’s advertiser network, and there is a lot of it. In August, the stats cover 81.9m visits to merchants and 1.57m sales. 

The stats don’t cover in-app purchases, except in cases where the customer is taken out of the app to complete the transaction on a website. 

This is affiliate traffic we are looking at, so there may be some differences between that and ‘normal’ web traffic, but the data is still revealing, and shows the growing importance of mobile and tablets for e-commerce.

According to Affiliate Window’s Matt Swan: 

The traffic that we are measuring is just traffic that has come through affiliate partners so it will be lower than ‘general’ web traffic volumes. There are a wide range of affiliate promotional types so this could be traffic that has come through a price comparison site or a voucher code site for example. The amount of traffic to a website through the affiliate channel will vary from sector to sector and by individual advertisers, but could typically be around 5-10%.

There could be major differences in affiliate traffic and general web traffic, as affiliate traffic is typically for acquisition purposes. General traffic could include visitors who are logging into accounts, particularly relevant for sectors like telecoms.

Average order values: iPad vs the rest

As far as average order values are concerned, the iPad is king, with an AOV of £69.94, compared to £65 for desktop (i.e. non-mobile). 

As you can see from the stats, the iPhone (£48.34) does a little better than Android (£43.76), while Blackberry and other devices are way behind, a reflection of the relative user experience and ease of purchase on the different devices. 

Stats from eBay, quoted in our M-commerce Innovation Briefing, echo this trend, with the company stating that tablet users spend 50% more than PC users. 

Conversion rates: iPad vs the rest

Not only are AOVs higher, but the iPad is converting better than desktop, as well as all other mobile devices. 

And by some distance too. The average iPad conversion rate for August was 3.82%, with the next best 2.58% for Android. Non-mobile was way behind on 1.9%. 

Mobile sales: iPad vs the rest

For the first time in August, the iPad accounted for more sales than any other device, knocking the iPhone off the top spot for the first time. 

The chart also shows the growth of sales via Android devices, which have been growing at a much faster rate than Blackberry. 

Of the 1.57m sales generated by affiliates in August, 77,082 were made via mobile devices. 27,551 were via iPad, 26,360 on iPhone, and 13,862 on Android. 

Fashion works on the iPad

There is some variation between sectors, and the stats show that fashion retailers are doing better than most on iPad.

The fashion sector accounts for more than double the percentage of total sales compare with other sectors, a trend that isn’t there for other mobile devices. 

Percentage of iPad sales: 

  • Retail(electrical): 1.92% of total sales via iPad.
  • Retail(fashion): 3.81%.
  • Telecoms: 1.21%.
  • Travel: 1.01%

Percentage of mobile sales: 

  • Retail(electrical): 1.64% of total sales via mobile.
  • Retail(fashion): 1.38%.
  • Telecoms: 2.22%.
  • Travel: 0.54%

Why do iPads perform so well? 

This is an interesting question, and the fact that, in some circumstances at least, they are performing better than desktop merits further investigation. 

As stats from our recent Multichannel Customer Experience Report show, the user experience offered by tablets (and this means iPad for the vast majority) is either good or excellent for the majority of respondents. 

If we look at the retail sector (which has the best customer experience according to these stats), then 68% rate the iPad experience as good or excellent, and just 4% poor or very poor. 

This is just better than mobile (66% good or better vs 7% poor or very poor), but it trails behind the online user experience. The vast majority (86%) rate the online user experience for retailers as good or excellent, and just 1% poor. 

So, the user experience on iPad sits in between desktop and mobile, and is closer to mobile according to these stats. For me, I think the user experience is much better than iPad than mobile, though I have encountered the odd issue during checkout, particularly with Verified by Visa

Users of iPads are converting better than desktop despite an inferior user experience, which means other factors are at play. Basically, iPad users are likely to have more money to spend than the average desktop, and are less price-sensitive. 

According to Matt Swan: 

iPad users typically have higher amounts of disposable income, know what they want to purchase and are using their iPad’s to transact. We typically see that a lot of desktop traffic is where consumers are in the research phase. This traffic is not necessarily going to convert and is why we are seeing lower conversion rates through desktops.

In addition, the way in which people are using tablets may also impact this. People are often using their iPads at home, perhaps browsing while in bed on a Sunday morning, or on the sofa while watching TV. In short, it’s more of a lean-back experience.  

Our recent Conversion Rate Optimization Report found that just 16% of companies are conducting any kind of usability testing on tablets, but these stats show that retailers (ad fashion brands especially) need to take notice of the iPad.