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Summary:

The online payments firm has provided a breakdown of the traffic it handled in the fourth quarter of 2013, showing from the e-commerce side how tablets are taking over from desktop PCs.

Nexus 7, tablets
photo: Google

The Dutch online payments company Adyen has put out some device breakdown data based on its considerable traffic (it handled $14 billion last year), and the results show how high-value purchases are increasingly taking place on tablets.

For the avoidance of doubt, the mobile payments we’re talking about here are payments taking place through mobile browsers or apps, rather than people using their phones to make contactless payments (which is still an uncertain business). So this is really describing the transition from the desktop to the mobile device, rather than new forms of payment.

Adyen looked at the volume and value of payments taking place in 5 key verticals, namely gaming, retail, ticketing, digital goods and travel. Retail aside, smartphones saw a greater volume of transactions than tablets did, but people are shelling out more cash in the average tablet transaction – more even than PC-based transactions, in all verticals save travel.

Here’s a couple of graphs showing Adyen’s findings, covering the last quarter of 2013. Unfortunately there’s no mention of PCs in the top section, which deals with volume (smartphones vs tablets only), but the bottom section gives a clear indication of the average transaction value breakdown between all 3 device types:

Adyen value breakdown

Adyen CCO Roelant Prins also gave me another interesting piece of information from the study, saying that merchants who have a proper mobile app or who have at least created a responsive retail site that renders well on mobile, have on average a 10-15 percent higher conversion rate than those who just run a desktop-oriented web store.

The message here is quite obvious, when you combine it with the sales trajectories of the different device types: tablets are taking over from the desktop, certainly as the device of choice for those sitting on the couch and buying high-value goods, and retailers in particular should be optimizing their operations accordingly.

  1. Crazy. Am I the only one who is nervous to conduct these transactions on my tablet – where I have less control over virus/malware software, system processes, and where I lose the ability to use a company’s desktop site, which always seems to offer more control.

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  2. People have been waiting for this forever. But the challenge has always been that the mobile/tablet UX is weaker than the desktop side. Consumers in comparison shopping mode have played around on tablets, then waited for the full experience of a desktop before making the buying decision. When they do this, consumers are literally voting on the (poor) quality of the mobile experience.

    That’s about to change, as the mobile UX finally catches up in important areas, such as search. Most major sites have different search experiences on mobile than on their desktop sites. The mobile/tablet side is not as advanced. Not as friendly. Compare search at any big e-commerce retailer’s desktop site versus its mobile site.

    I saw this problem first-hand when I worked at mShopper, a mobile e-commerce enabler. At SRCH2 (http://srch2.com) we’re enabling one common search experience for all screens. There’s no question that the trend toward equal footing for tablets will accelerate.

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  3. Half of all PCs shipped in 2014 will be tablet. And as retailers are getting onboard with having mobile optimized sites, it is simply easier to shop.

    Previously, a lot of retailers just focused on smartphone and desktop, and then assumed the desktop experience was usable on tablet. But we have all been there, tiny buttons are fingers couldn’t push, pop-up boxes and even non-functioning buttons destroyed the tablet experience. The fact is that desktop sites were not designed to be used on tablets. So at the same time as tablet ownership is increasing, retailers are employing optimization methods like responsive design (we’ve seen an average of 30% increase in conversion rates on tablet from our clients http://5thfinger.com/). The result is a symphony of major leaps in conversion rates, traffic, and comfort in purchasing high dollar items over the last year.

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  4. Not surprised. Tablets are the perfect form factor and are usually available at competitive prices. Tablets by design make information workers mobile meaning the opportunity exists to establish what T-Systems calls Zero Distance relationships with the customer. Of course they are only powerful if IT is willing to team with the user base and provide access to data needed to make decision.

    Peter Fretty

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  5. Wojtek Szywalski Monday, February 3, 2014

    It seems that in case of digital goods we buy them more willingly via smartphones. Interesting.

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