The Rise of Couch Commerce

December 19, 2011

Digital Marketing ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

We all know that consumers are gaga for smart phones and tablets. Smartphones continue to gobble up market share from feature phones, and iPhone and Android devices are everywhere. The iPad is the fastest selling new consumer device of all time, and Amazon Kindle is selling 1M+ units/week. But it’s one thing for these devices to be in consumers’ hands, and quite another for them to shop and buy on them. Smartphones have small, fussy keyboards, tablets aren’t meant for a lot of text input, and most don’t support websites with flash. For these and other reasons, e-commerce on smartphones and tablets has lagged other uses of the devices.

For Holiday 2011, we’ve been tracking usage on mobile devices and have seen some interesting trends. First, mobile device usage is much higher than ever before, and is increasing steadily, with tablets grabbing the bigger share of mobile orders. Second, despite there being far fewer tablets sold than smartphones, users are much more likely to shop on their tablets.

Tablet and Smartphone Percent Usage by Time of Day

Finally, users are much more likely to shop on their tablets in the evenings than during the day, as much as 8% of all online orders. Call it “couch commerce” if you like, but buyers are 50% more likely to buy on their tablet in the evening than during the day. Combine this with Nielson data showing that tablet use often coincides with watching TV, and you are getting better insight into shifting social behaviours. I know that in our household, the adults all reach for their mobile devices when the Dora the Explorer Marathon starts.

For search marketers, you should be including tablets in your marketing; and you should insure that your content displays well on a tablet too. If not, you are missing valuable sales opportunities from the couch.

Written by Jason James, Paid Search Product Manager