The overwhelming evidence of consumers shifting to mobile is forcing brands to quickly evaluate how to incorporate tablets and smartphones into their digital strategy. Nielsen research showed that 46 percent of US mobile consumers had smartphones as of Q42011, and that figure has continued to quickly grow. In fact, a recent study by IDC revealed that more people in the United States will access the web via mobile devices than via wireline computers by 2015. The drive to mobile begs the question: what's the best path to monetize mobile?
According to research by Adobe, tablet users spend over 50% more on online purchases when compared with smartphone users. Adobe analyzed roughly 16.2 billion online transactions from 150 top U.S. retailers in 2011 for the study. Additionally, the report concluded that tablet users are three times more likely to make a purchase than smartphone users. The findings are not surprising when considering that the browser on a tablet is more similar to one a PC than on a smartphone. For example, in-line videos on an iPad do not play within a native player as they do on an iPhone. Essentially, the display size on the smartphone, which is typically 3.5" to 4.7" does not provides enough room for a user to view a website. Thus, the smartphone is relegated to in-aisle product comparisons experiences whereas the full-form tablets are used for in-home browsing and purchases.
The study demonstrates that brands need to look beyond a one-size-fits-all for mobile screens. Instead, brands need to consider how to shift visitors from one screen to the next. Beyond simply moving smartphone visitors that are browsing products on-the-go to a full website experience on a tablet or a desktop, brands can also take advantage of in-app purchases to convert visitors into customers. But in the next two years, brands should expect to adjust their mobile strategies again as the display size on smartphone devices expand. For example, Samsung is rolling out the Galaxy Note in Q1 2012 which will feature a whopping 5.3" display. As these devices become more commonplace, the line between smartphones and tablets will blur and consumer will become more accustomed to completing purchases via the mobile phone browser instead of defaulting to a mobile application or a tablet.