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Top Shopping Tools: Web Browsers, Smartphones, and Facebook


Among the various digital shopping channels available to consumers today, when discovering new products, most online shoppers prefer to use websites via PC or laptop or browser-based mobile sites via smartphone rather than mobile apps, according to a new study by Zmags.

Among surveyed online consumers (defined in the study as people who shop via PC/laptop, smartphone, or tablet):

  • 87% prefer to browse and buy from websites via PCs or laptops.
  • 71% still prefer in-store shopping.
  • 14% prefer browser-based mobile sites via smartphone.


Some 9% of online consumers prefer to browse and shop via tablet, whereas only 4% prefer to shop via smartphone or tablet app.

Below, additional findings from Zmag's report titled "Meet the Connected Consumer: How Tablets, Smartphones and Facebook are Changing the Ways Consumers Shop."

Meet the Connected (and Social) Consumer

The typical online or "connected" consumer is a 40-something female—52% of connected consumers are women, with a mean age of 40 and an annual income of $63,000.

Connected consumers use multiple devices: In addition to owning a PC or laptop, 43% also own a smartphone, and 16% own a tablet.

Most are socially networked: 81% of connected consumers are active Facebook users—and they are enthusiastic about shopping: 

  • 60% shop via digital or print catalogs.
  • 40% say shopping makes them feel happy. 
  • "Excited," "thrifty," and "productive" top the list of connected consumers' shopping emotions.

Top Devices: Tablets Rising 

Connected consumers carry multiple devices: In addition to owning a PC or laptop, 43% own a smartphone and 16% own a tablet.

Among connected consumers who own tablets:  

  • 87% shopped via tablet during the 2011 holiday season, spending $325, on average during the period. 
  • 50% use their device at least weekly to shop or browse for products online.
  • 49% expect to shop more on their tablet over the next year, whereas 20% plan to shop more in-store and 19% plan to shop more via smartphone.

Convenience and ease-of-use are key motivators for shopping via tablet.

Among connected consumers who own a tablet, 29% cite overall convenience as reason for shopping via tablet, 24% say they like the browsing experience the tablet offers, and 14% cite ease of transaction via tablet.

The Connected Facebook Consumer  

Tablet owners also display a distinct preference for brand engagement and shopping on Facebook.

Overall, 81% of connected consumers are active Facebook users, and 43% follow their favorite brands on Facebook. Tablet owners, however, are more likely to follow brands on Facebook (57% do), and they are roughly twice as likely as other connected consumers to shop their top brand's Facebook pages (34% vs. 16%).

Connected consumers turn to Facebook branded pages for various reasons; the two most most popular are sharing group-buying deals with friends (22%) and findings inspiration about what to buy (21%).

Some 19% of connected consumers who use Facebook head to branded pages to find deals, and 17% are use them for convenience, i.e., they're already there.

About the data: The Zmags study, in partnership with Equation Research, is based on a survey of 1,500 US adults who owned a computer, smartphone and/or tablet, conducted November 10-14, 2011.

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