Will tablets edge out smartphones? New data from Adobe Digital Index suggests this may happen by early 2013. A new eMarketer forecast projects nearly 70 million Americans, representing over 20% of all US consumers, will use a tablet by the end of 2012.¹ Here’s the best part: aside from watching video, most of these people are using tablets for two things: browsing and buying.

Have I got your attention yet?

Extrapolating 2011 data, eMarketer predicts that by 2015 over half of all Internet users will be tapping away on their tablets:¹

These findings are less surprising when you dig into the numbers. The Adobe Digital Index study, How Tablets Are Catalyzing Brand Website Engagement, found the share of website visits from tablets grew approximately 10X faster than that of smartphones within two years of market introduction, and grew more than 300% in the last year.

Moreover, according to the study, one tablet generates as many website visits as four smartphones. In other words, for every visit made to a brand website with a smartphone, four visits are made using a tablet. By this token, people who own tablets are much more likely to use them to engage with a brand’s website than those on smartphones.

Why is this important? According to data released by rich media marketing platform provider Zmags in January 2012, more than 50% of all tablet owners reported shopping on their tablets at least once per week; 12% used a tablet to shop daily.¹


The Adobe study also found that tablets are enjoying PC-esque engagement rates. This trend is consistent worldwide:


It’s clear that the explosive adoption of tablets will have an increasing impact on brands. What can your business do to prepare? Here are a few things to take into account when assessing your company’s tablet readiness:

  • UXD is a buzz-acronym that will gain more currency in the months and years ahead. UXD, short for “user experience design,” is a term used to describe the attempts made by app and web developers to create an ideal end-user experience. In a marketing sense, UXD tries to increase the likelihood that users interacting with your website or app on a specific device will have an easy and enjoyable time, and are able to do what you intend (i.e. download an eBook, fill out a form, watch a video). Given that people are using tablets for brand engagement and purchase, make sure your UXD is helping, rather than hindering, these actions.
  • The majority of brand websites are not yet optimized for smartphones, let alone tablets. One solution is responsive web design (RWD). With a responsive web design, your site’s architecture is built to be “flexible,” providing optimal viewing on PCs, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. RWD websites can take a bit more time and money to develop, but they eliminate the need for future retro-fitting, and often create a much better user experience (UX).
  • Also, consider using HTML5 technology for app and web development. With HTML5, your brand can offer richer user experiences that are device agnostic, eliminating the hassle of building apps on multiple operating systems. HTML5-based apps and websites are ideally suited for the visual and interactive nature of tablets.

As we’ve seen, there is ample evidence to suggest that tablets will edge out smartphones. In the end, though, the frenetic pace of tablet adoption may be driven by the Goldilocks theory: PCs are too big and cumbersome, smartphones too small and unwieldy, but tablets are just right…

¹ eMarketer, Tablet Shopping Growing, but Retailers Must Keep Up

Info-Graphic Courtesy of Adobe Digital Index