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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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