With more than 60 million Americans forecast to own a tablet computer by the end of this year, retailers say tablets are driving an increasingly larger share of their web revenue. According to the 2012 Shop.org/Forrester Research Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) State Of Retailing Online survey, which surveyed 59 companies, 49% of retailers say their average order value via tablets is now higher than traditional web sales. Nearly three in 10 (28%) retailers say they are seeing about the same average order value from tablets as from their website. Forrester’s “The State Of Retailing Online” research series provides eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals with annual industry benchmarks of marketing and business investment and activities.

When it comes to actual sales that retailers are reporting, the survey found that in 2011, tablet and smartphone sales were 3.2% and 1.5%, respectively, of retailers’ total web sales.

“Retailers must continue to look for unique ways to elevate their brand in such a competitive market. Tablets and mobile devices offer the perfect answer, with opportunities to create specialized apps, drive web sales, and create an engaging and convenient shopping experience,” said Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell. “Overall, we expect smartphone shopping adoption rates to stay low but fully believe tablet sales will continue to change how retailers garner the attention of new and current customers. With tablet usage marching towards true ubiquity, retailers will continue to plan ahead by examining their customers’ behaviors and shopping patterns.”

Email And Search Still Invaluable; QR Codes Emerge As Popular Mobile Marketing Tool With Retailers Of All Sizes

For retailers, search and email are still king. Eight in 10 retailers say search and email are the top two drivers of a company’s web traffic from either a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, retailers surveyed report that, on average, 20% of emails in a given campaign are opened on a mobile device.

Additionally, QR codes have become more standard elements of retailers’ mobile marketing efforts within their stores and in advertising. Three-quarters (75%) say they now offer customers the 2D technology and other barcode scanning options. For companies with less than $10 million or more than $100 million in annual online sales, QR codes rank as the leading mobile marketing tool in terms of usage. Midsize retailers rely more heavily on mobile email optimization, with QR codes coming in second.

Retailers Still Learning From Consumers’ Mobile Behaviors

Though it’s hard not to notice the mobile revolution in progress, retailers are still adjusting to the sea change that mobile is having on consumer shopping behavior — and thus on retailers’ marketing initiatives. In terms of marketing, retailers say that, on average, 3.9% of their total interactive marketing budget this year is dedicated to mobile advertising, suggesting a strategy of testing and measuring consumer response.

“Retailers have been apprehensive about committing to bigger mobile commerce and advertising budgets because consumer behavior and the device landscape are changing so quickly,” said Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. “eCommerce on desktops and laptops took time too. But eventually, we expect that retailers will grow their mobile marketing budgets to address the fact that the mobile channel has unique aspects, like location-triggered messaging, that can be compelling ways for brands to connect with shoppers.”

About The Survey

The State Of Retailing Online 2012 will be available to Shop.org members in the month of June and can be purchased at that time at www.shop.org/soro. Forrester clients will be able to access the report as part of their subscription service two weeks from publication.

Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the world’s leading membership community for digital retail. Founded in 1996, Shop.org’s 600 members include the 10 largest retailers in the US and more than 60 percent of the Internet Retailer Top 100 E-Retailers. It’s where the best retail minds come together to gain the insight, knowledge, and intelligence to make smarter, more informed decisions in the evolving world of the Internet and multichannel retailing. Shop.org programs and activities include benchmarking research, events, and networking communities.