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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Device Divide Tips Commerce to Phones

Laptops are from Mars, smartphones are from Venus. Or to put it another way, computers are for school and work tasks, while smartphones are for leisure and socializing.

At least that’s the way young people see it. Shopping falls in the smartphone bucket, by the way.

In a post for Internet Retailer, writer Amy Dusto describes how she came to realize that she and her husband, both in their 20s, were differentiating the use of their electronic devices. This one for work, that one for fun.

Then the point was driven home for Dusto by the 17-year-old son of a business colleague. The boy left his laptop, where he’d been doing homework, to walk across the room to pick up his cellphone and make a clothing purchase. He was dismissive when an adult suggested he could have made the transaction right from the laptop.

Another Internet Retailer commentator, Bill Siwicki, points to data from an IDC survey in March showing that smartphone owners aged 18-44 spend 84% of their phone usage time doing everything but making calls. NACS OnCampus Research, in its latest Student Watch survey of college students, discovered similar findings.

A lot of that phone time is devoted to shopping, whether that involves checking e-mail or texts for special offers, researching products or sellers online, scanning QR codes for information, reading or posting personal reviews on social media, or actually placing orders. Siwicki’s point is that retailers need to understand this behavior and make sure their e-commerce operations can handle mobile shopping.

It’s still unclear whether the younger crowd views tablets as small computers or large phones. Maybe that’s yet to shake out.

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