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Sales on tablets are outpacing those made on smartphones

Tablet users, rather than those making purchases on their smartphones, are turning out to be the big spenders of the mobile device set.

ABI Research found that 22 percent of tablet users are spending at least $50 monthly and 9 percent are buying $100 or more in merchandise each month, according to Mobile Commerce Daily. They tend to make purchases from their homes using debit, credit or prepaid ACH cards. When they are in stores, they use the tablets for checking prices, using coupons and location searches, the researchers found.

Branding Brand in Pittsburgh also reported that January 2013 sales showed tablet users spending 13 percent more than smartphone holders. The average order came to $107 on tablets, compared to an $94 on smartphones.

"Tablet commerce will continue to grow," Joey Rahimi, the branding company's co-founder and chief information officer told Mobile Commerce Daily. "According to our data, tablets will account for 14 percent of all online visits and 15 percent of online revenue by December 2013. This represents a year-over-year growth of 40 percent and 50 percent respectively."

Tablet purchasing evolves
The growth in tablets has opened a new sales avenue for retailers. In addition to about 200 million tablets that have been produced since 2009, ABI estimates another one billion will ship in the next five years.

Merchants are starting to respond as they did earlier when smartphone purchases began to make strides in e-commerce. Rahimi said more retailers are instituting tablet-optimized websites just as they did to accommodate the needs of purchases by phone.

Tablet sites tend to be faster with clearer visuals than a desktop and geared to the functions of a tablet, including large, tappable links, easy swiping and both portrait and landscape views.

When catalog retailer Harry and David introduced its tablet site, the Medford, Oregon-based seller of gourmet gift baskets, it was trying to capitalize on the affluent shoppers who are increasingly using their tablets for online buys. The high-resolution imagery is ideal for a company that specializes in high-end food products, which include colorful premium fruits for which Harry and David is best known. With most of the content on the homepage in two sales sections, less scrolling is needed to see the retailer's major shopping categories.

"The first thing you'll notice is a large carousel highlighting Harry and David's beautiful product photography and delivering seasonal messaging," Dan Kowta, creative director at Skava in San Francisco, told Mobile Commerce Daily. "Between the two promotional areas, it's very likely you could find what you're looking for without leaving the home page."