If you’ve noticed fewer window shoppers on the streets lately, it may be because they’re at home window shopping from their couches; that is, they’re discovering and exploring products without necessarily intending to purchase.

For our 2015 US Mobile Landscape report*, Forrester analyzed mobile audience data from our behavioral tracking panel to understand how consumers use smartphones and tablets in 2015. We found that although professionals often group both devices under the “mobile” umbrella, consumers use smartphones and tablets in very different ways. One notable difference centers on mobile commerce: While smartphone commerce is still struggling to get traction, for tablets it’s already one of the most common activities. In fact, Forrester’s US Mobile Phone And Tablet Commerce Forecast, 2015 To 2020 shows that total tablet retail purchases more than double those made on a smartphone.

Our behavioral data shows that in the first half of 2015, 68% of tablet owners visited a shopping site at least once in a given month — that’s more than the number who visited news/media, TV/video, or even social networking sites! And these tablet shoppers aren’t just visiting Amazon.com. Only about half took to Amazon —the other half visited other online shopping websites that fit their interests, brand preferences, and lifestyle.


We also find that consumers mostly use mobile websites for shopping discovery and exploration. Only 37% of tablet owners used shopping apps in a given month — nearly half the number that visited shopping websites. Sites are an easy way for shoppers to navigate across multiple brands and retailers without needing to download an app, enter personal details, or use up valuable device memory.

What does this mean for your mobile strategy? How should you design tablet experiences that differ from ones on smartphones? How should you approach mobile websites versus mobile apps? As my colleague Tim Sheedy said in his recent report Online Retailers: Focus On Serving Your Customers In Their Mobile Moments, “There may be hundreds of different ways you can help customers get something done, and your opportunity is for them to choose you as their preferred merchant or service provider in their moments of need.”

*Forrester Technographics® clients can request the 2015 US Mobile Landscape report via their data insights manager. Contact us at data@forrester.com if you aren’t a Technographics client but would like to understand trends in behavioral mobile data metrics and insights.

Nicole Dvorak is a data scientist serving all roles. Follow her on Twitter at@NicoleLDvorak.


About Forrester’s mobile audience data: Forrester’s mobile audience data helps you understand how your customers behave in their mobile moments — and if you play any role at all. It will give you a better understanding of your target consumers and how they use their mobiles and tablets, from the amount of time they spend on different social media outlets to their most popular time of day to visit shopping websites.We track behavior using a passive application on consumers’ smartphones and tablets that allows us to subtly collect data without disrupting normal behavior. Compared with other data sources, it allows us to capture actions at a very detailed level with precision, eliminating measurement errors by analyzing usage of what consumers do, not what they say they do. Please contact data@forrester.com when you would love to learn more.