Why marketers need to have a tablet strategy this Christmas

SteedmanIn this guest post, M&C Saatchi’s Chris Steedman argues the launch of the latest iterations of the iPad and iPad mini is further proof that Australian brand owners are missing a massive opportunity in tablet marketing. 

Last Christmas was the tipping point.

It was the first where more people searched online shopping on their mobile devices than on desk or laptops.

Data from Google shows 53 per cent  of all online shopping searches made by Australians during Christmas 2012 came from tablets and smart phones.

This tallied with figures from PayPal Australia that showed a substantial year-on-year increase in mobile commerce during the 2012 Christmas shopping period.

But the real story here is the explosion in tablet consumption. People are buying tablets instead of computers. Gartner has forecasted that tablet sales in Australia will more than double between 2012 to 2014. By Q1 next year tablet shipments to Australia would have climbed to within 90% of PC shipments, with a real prospect of them overtaking PC shipments by 2015.

What’s interesting is a very clear distinction between how people are using tablets and how they are using smart phones, especially when it comes to Christmas shopping.

Put simply they are feasting on tablets and snacking on smart phones. In other words they are using their phones in a very on-the-go, quick search capacity.

But they are actually transacting on their iPads, normally once they are home, from the comfort of their couch.

It looks like ‘Couch Commerce’ is here to stay. PayPal data shows in the five-week lead in to Christmas 2012, Australians were transacting on their mobile immediately after stores closed, with 30% of transactions occurring between 8pm and midnight.

And tablets are the transaction tool of choice.

The Christmas growth mirrors the overall explosion in mCommerce in Australia with Nielsen research showing purchases on mobile devices were valued at $5.6 billion in 2012, a whopping 36-fold increase from the $155 million spent on the devices in 2010.

The launch of the latest versions of the iPad and iPad mini tablets today will only exacerbate the trend.

The buzz around these new iterations and other tablet launches from Nokia, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Samsung in quarter two will only further the mass migration of shopper eyeballs to the devices this Christmas, creating a new audience for brands.

This represents something of a perfect storm for marketers. The proliferation of tablets and their higher usage means there is huge increase in tablet inventory, much more than demand can fill. As a result rates are reduced, coupled with the fantastic opportunity for advertisers to target this bolstered tablet audience at the one time of the year when they are willing to splash the cash, both pre and post Christmas.

Pre Christmas for gift buying, travel and getting the supplies in for the big day. Post-Christmas to avail of the sales as they lounge in their deck chairs, perhaps on the tablet they received from Santa.

Savvy marketers will be taking their e-commerce strategy this Christmas and transitioning it into an m-commerce one.

Otherwise the lack of a tablet strategy could well be a very bitter pill to swallow.

Chris Steedman is managing director APAC of M&C Saatchi Mobile. 


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