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Tablet transactions top $28B in 2013: Javelin

Tablets took over as the devices responsible for fueling the most mobile commerce last year and will continue to move mobile commerce going forward, according to a new study from Javelin Strategy & Research.

Javelin’s new “Mobile Payments Market: Tablet Payments Surge as Overall Mobile Retail Sales Top $60 Billion” report looks at how mobile payments fared in 2013 to predict how the market will shake out in the next five years. The report also suggests how retailers should be approaching both smartphone and tablet initiatives.

“The demographics of tablet owners will change: The higher income and lower age skew of tablet owners will start to diminish as the devices become mainstream,” said Daniel van Dyke, research specialist of mobile at Javelin Strategy & Research, Pleasanton, CA.

“Tablets will remain in the hands of the super consumers currently on the devices, but they’ll be joined by everyone else,” she said.

Javelin’s report is based on three online surveys with more than 10,000 consumers.

Mcommerce grows
In 2013, $59.7 billion in sales were made from mobile devices, up from $20.7 billion in 2012.

The bulk of these sales — $56.6 billion — were made through a mobile site or app while only $3.1 billion was made via a mobile POS.

According to Javelin’s findings, tablets generated $28.7 billion in mobile commerce during 2013, more than five times the $5.1 billion in revenue from 2012.

This increase in tablet-generated sales is primarily due to the doubling of tablet ownership year-over-year.

Physical goods were bought by 50 percent of tablet shoppers, and apps were purchased by 49 percent.

Broken out by device, iPad and Kindle Fire shoppers make an average of two monthly purchases while other Android tablet users shop once a month.

Additionally, iPad users spend an average of $30 while Android tablet users – including Kindle Fire owners – average $20.

To keep up with this growing revenue stream, marketers and retailers should be focusing squarely on tablet-optimized sites and application features that take advantage of the larger screen sizes.

The report points out that tablet users are increasingly moving between app and Web experiences in tandem, so the most well-suited marketers will offer both compelling apps and sites.

Brands have been fairly quick to roll out apps that cater to tablet users, but optimized sites and Web content has been a bit more of a challenge.

Mobile-driven sales
The report also looks at the differences between mobile apps and sites in how consumers shop.

Per the report, 17 percent of mobile shoppers only used a browser to shop. Seventy-two percent of consumers used a combination of mobile Web and app shopping.

Additionally, 63 percent of consumers said that they would use their mobile devices to comparison shop.

Only 20 percent of consumers chose to use their devices to make a mobile POS sale, showing the bigger opportunity for retailers to increase on-device sales through compelling in-store experiences.

Despite the small amount of mobile POS sales, these transactions are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 61.88 percent over the next five years.

By the end of this year, $4.7 billion will be made through mobile proximity payments. That number will grow to $34.8 billion in 2018.

However, for this potential to significantly take off, there will need to be standardization around mobile wallets and payments.

Thirty-three percent of consumers said that they did not make a mobile payment because their device did not have the right features to do so.

Unsurprisingly, it is the younger consumers that are shopping most frequently from mobile devices.

Three percent of consumers aged 18-23 years old and 62 percent aged 25-34 years old surveyed had made a mobile payment. Only 10 percent of consumers more than 65 years old had made a mobile payment.

Going forward, retailers will need to develop smartphone and tablet-specific products that increase on-device and in-store sales.

“Retailers will adopt a two-prong strategy to drive tablet commerce: They’ll use responsive design to rescale their Web sites to tablet screens and develop tablet-optimized mobile applications,” Mr. Van Dyke said. “Furthermore, we’ll see more tablets used as POS devices for line busting.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York