January 30, 2013 - Comments Off on What? You've not got a tablet?!

What? You've not got a tablet?!

We all know that the iPad has “changed everything”. Well, maybe not everything, but the tablet is now the largest growth device for browsing the web – you only need to look at the number of commuters on the train and bus that clutch their tablet like their life depends on it every morning to see that!

Working in the digital industry, we have to be aware of the evolving market and the way users are consuming information. As well as industry statistics, we have powerful analytics data from our own clients which enables us to see first-hand that tablets are an ever growing device for web browsing.

Cast your mind back to Christmas 2011. Were you like me and asked for an iPad? Well, I didn’t get what I asked for, but many did. Our post-Christmas analytics data for that year showed a sharp spike in the number of users accessing websites via tablet devices – a spike which (funnily enough) had a direct correlation with Christmas day.

Fast forward to Christmas 2012 and this trend dramatically increased. With a plethora of tablet devices available – many at a more affordable price than Apple’s original iPad – Christmas day 2012 saw an even sharper spike in tablet browsing than Christmas 2011. So much so that a recent research study from Flurry estimated that 17.4 million smart devices (worldwide) were activated on Christmas day 2012, more than double that of 2011’s 6.8 million.  Of those smart devices activated this year, 51% were tablets.

Dixons Retail, who own Currys and PC World, reported that they sold more than 1 million tablets in the UK and Ireland during Christmas 2012. One third of the total sales were iPads, again highlighting the huge consumer demand.

So, what did our clients’ analytics data tell us about tablet usage?

The travel sector saw a huge increase in users accessing websites via tablet devices, with a massive 265% increase year-on-year (1st December – 16th January).

Note – for the travel industry seasonality is a huge factor here – as we see an increase in users looking to book a holiday around late December through to the New Year. However an increase of 265% in tablet usage is not in line with overall growth, showing the significance of tablet browsing.

When we compare the results to the entertainment industry, we see something very similar with a 206% increase in tablet traffic year-on-year. Again, we see a very clear increase from Christmas day onwards, which is something I would expect to see again next year.

Across both sectors, the top 3 tablets were:

  1. Apple iPad
  2. Google Nexus 7
  3. Samsung Galaxy Tablet 2

Econsultancy’s recent research showed that 46% of Christmas day search traffic was via a tablet or mobile device. From a PPC point of view, this highlights that paid search campaigns should be customised to work as effectively and efficiently as possible across tablet devices. It clearly emphasises the need to optimise for all of the devices that users are consuming information through – mobile, tablet and desktop.

What will the future hold for tablets?  Well, I for one would expect to see Christmas tablet growth happen again next year, perhaps with an even larger year-on-year increase than we saw this Christmas. With the proliferation of affordable devices and increased user adoption, the stage is well and truly set for 2013 to be the year of transmedia search strategies.