Tablet Visitors Spent 54% More Than Smartphone Visitors in 2011

People using tablets spent $123 on average per purchase in 2011, 54 percent more than visitors using smartphones, according to an Adobe study.

"Mobile is no longer a one-size-fits-all-strategy. It's like saying you have an Internet strategy. You have to get more granular. Audiences are really different," John Mellor, VP of business development for Adobe's Digital Marketing Business, said in an interview. He recommends that retailers segment their customers to account for the different audiences and their behaviors.

tablets-aov2011The study also noted that tablets accounted for a small but fast growing segment of retail website visitors. It went from 1 percent in January 2011 to 4 percent in December 2011.

The study pointed to two reasons why tablet visitors may be more valuable than those using smartphones, laptops, desktops: tablet users are more affluent than those using other devices, plus the devices may be more conducive to shopping.

But will the dynamics change if tablets become more affordable and more widely used? It depends.

The adoption of lower priced tablets could change shopping behaviors, so that's a trend that marketers should monitor in coming months.

But, don't count on the demographics of Apple iPad users to change anytime soon, said Austin Bankhead, director of industry marketing for Adobe's Digital Marketing Business. That's because Apple is known for maintaining higher prices for their products than other vendors. And Apple attracts customers who can afford to pay more for those products. Take the Apple iPad. It currently sells for $499 for the basic 16GB model to $829 for the 64GB model, not including the 3G wireless service.)

Could the novelty of tablets be another factor affecting usage patterns? Adobe executives acknowledged that is a possibility, thus making it imperative to analyze trends each month.

The study found that the average order values and conversion rates on Black Friday and Cyber Monday were higher than the averages for the 2011 calendar year and holiday season. However, the average order value during the 2011 holiday season totaled $111, which was $12 lower than the average order value during the 2011 calendar year.

The study is based on an analysis of 16 billion visits to the websites of more than 150 retailers in 2011. The average annual revenue of the sites is $260 million.