Tallying Up the Tablet Numbers

The focus of a recent eMarketer article was on how more Americans are using their tablets to enhance their shopping experience. Most retailers, it noted, are falling short of providing consumers with the interactive aspects they are looking for.

I was more fascinated, however, by the tremendous growth in tablet usage. Check out some of these numbers:

  • Millions of tablet users: 13.0 in 2010; 33.7 in 2011; 69.6 in 2012 and a projected 133.5 by 2015
  • Percentage of the population using a tablet: 4.2% in 2010; 10.8% in 2011; 22% in 2012; and the projected 41% in 2015
  • Percentage of Internet users using a tablet: 5.8% in 2010; 14.5% in 2011; 29.1% in 2012; and the projected 51.9% in 2015

The eMarketer analysis:

In just over 12 months, tablet ownership has expanded beyond the early adopter set to include nearly all population groups. To reflect this rapid growth in tablet adoption and purchase intent over the past six months, eMarketer has raised its estimate for the number of tablet users in the U.S. The new forecast projects that the triple-digit growth seen in 2011 will carry through 2012, fueled primarily by the popularity of Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire, as well as by an expanding selection of low-priced tablets.

Study: Social Media Gaining on Email in Popularity with Small Businesses

I’ll be honest; I found this rather surprising. eMarketer reports:

Social media has quickly moved up the ranks of top marketing tactics among small and medium-sized business (SMBs). April 2011 research from Pitney Bowes indicates that by some measures of desirability, it’s in close competition with email.

When asked why they used several marketing tactics, US SMBs were most likely to say they chose social media marketing for its cost-effectiveness (54%) and ease of use (53%).

Respondents were still more likely to rate email as cost-effective and easy to use, but the older online marketing channel was ahead by less than 10 percentage points. No format besides social media approached it in these dimensions.

SMBs also tended to feel nearly as comfortable and knowledgeable with social media as they did with email, ahead of other channels.

Social media fell behind two other marketing tactics—direct mail and advertising—in “proven effectiveness,” however.

Still, its value for money spent has helped social media adoption rise quickly among small businesses. Pitney Bowes found that social media was used more frequently than direct mail, though still behind email and advertising overall. And it was the marketing tactic most likely to have been adopted in the past year, with 20% of respondents having taken it up in that time.

Email marketing software firm Constant Contact also found in April 2011 that usage of social media marketing was more popular among small businesses than direct mail, and behind only email marketing, a company website and print advertising. Four out of five respondents to that survey said they had increased their use of social media marketing in the past year.

Within the social realm, respondents were most likely to use Facebook, and rated it most effective of any venue.

Retail Sales Down? Try Getting Mobile

Ever since I stepped into the now, so to speak, and got a smartphone, I’ve been much more aware of the need for businesses to have mobile web sites. Even when I’m at home — why not use my Blackberry when my computer is all the way in the other room? (Some call it lazy; I call it resourceful.) At any rate, emarketer.com offers some food for thought that may help your retail sales climb in 2011:

Retailers without a mobile-optimized website may be missing out on sales. According to recent research from mobile and social marketing consultancy Brand Anywhere and Luth Research, 51% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from retailers that have a mobile site. But fewer than 5% of retailers have such a site.

Which retailers would benefit most? According to the study, the product categories most likely to attract mobile-commerce customers include auto dealerships (88% of mobile phone users); auto parts (65%); furniture (62%); florists (61%); jewelry, luggage and leather goods (60%); liquor (50%); sporting goods, books, hobby and music (49%); and clothing and shoes (47%). However, all categories in the study would benefit to some degree.

In February 2010, Multichannel Merchant found nearly 80% of multichannel retailers had no m-commerce presence at all, and April research from eROI showed fewer than one-quarter of marketers overall had a mobile-optimized website.

Ball State Students Not Enthused About Mobile Marketing

A release from eMarketer.com contends that Ball State University students who received ads on their mobile phones were not very enthusiastic about it. (I say if you want people to get jazzed about marketing again — especially on their personal communication devices — then it’s time to bring back The Noid.)

A Ball State University study of a primarily female group of college students found that a majority of them had seen ads on their phones, including 51.2% of smartphone or touchscreen phone users and 61.3% of feature-phone users. Text ads were most prevalent.

Their reactions to ads were highly negative. More than 40% were annoyed to get an ad, compared with just 1.2% who were pleased and 17.6% who were neutral. Even more dramatic, nearly three in 10 said they were less likely to purchase a product after seeing a mobile ad for it. Slightly fewer reported their purchase intent was unchanged, but only a small number said mobile ads encouraged them to purchase.

A substantial minority of respondents (44.3%) would not be induced to receive mobile ads under any circumstances, but 37% were willing to accept them for something free in return. Free ringtones and music were the most popular exchange. In addition, almost two-thirds of all respondents said ads would be OK if they got paid to see them, and the largest segment of that group wanted at least $1 in return for each ad viewed.