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Retailers urged to rethink e-commerce as consumers take the tablets like it’s 1989

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Retailers are being urged to prepare for the ‘tablet revolution’, as new research shows that online shopping via iPads and similar tablet devices is set to rocket in popularity – just as it has done in the US. Although the iPad was only launched 12 months ago, new European findings by the shopping search engine Shopzilla reveal that 6% of shoppers already own a tablet and a further 20% are considering purchasing one over the next year. The majority of owners say it is as easy to use for online purchases as a personal computer.

The trend is set to mirror the US where the iPad is driving a revolution in

e-commerce. A recent Shopzilla study in the US shows that 12% of consumers now have a tablet device, and a further quarter plan to buy one in the next year. In the European survey, published today, an overwhelming 5-to-1 ratio name the iPad as their tablet of choice.

The research by Shopzilla of almost 5,000 online shoppers – conducted to launch new destination shopping site – also reveals that nearly two thirds (61%) of iPad or tablet users say it is as easy to shop online with their hand-held device as with their personal computer. The majority, 71%, have bought or would buy online using their device.

Dual-screen technology means 70% of tablet users even watch TV while browsing shopping sites simultaneously. 53% of iPad or tablet users surveyed use their device to browse shopping sites with friends. 27% of online shoppers currently use a smartphone to browse shopping sites with friends.

Rachel Smith, Business Services Senior Director at Shopzilla, said: “Since their launch in April last year, an astonishing 25 million iPads have been sold worldwide, and with one in five online shoppers telling us they plan to buy a tablet in the next 12 months, this is clearly set to be a huge trend for UK shoppers.

“iPads and other tablet devices are also helping to drive the popularity of ‘social commerce’, with 53% of online consumers using their tablet to share online shopping activities with friends – whether it’s hunting for bargains, browsing reviews or making purchases.”

The Shopzilla research was conducted in Europe’s three largest online retail markets: the UK, France and Germany. It also reveals that almost 80% of current tablet owners view their device as an addition to their technology arsenal rather than as a replacement for an existing device.

And with many retailers still learning how consumers are interacting with these new devices, it is vital that they are prepared for the tablet revolution.

Rachel Smith, Business Services Senior Director at Shopzilla, added: “The year of mobile commerce, which has been predicted for some time, is finally here. With the explosion of the tablet market we are seeing a seismic change, and the opportunity will be for the retailers who are first to get it right.”

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