How can brands capitalize on the tablet’s role in the home?

New research from Brandspark finds ownership of the more purchase-friendly mobile device is on the rise.

Big growth in tablet ownership this year may open more opportunities for marketers, according to Brandspark’s VP Mark Baltazar, since consumers are more likely to be in “buy mode” when engaging with content at home on a tablet than when using a smartphone.

“They are more likely to be searching for things to buy and more likely to buy as compared to being on the phone,” Baltazar said Friday as he presented preliminary findings from a the Mobile Personas 2015 study by Brandspark, Tapped Mobile and App Promo.

The study includes the responses of 6,000 Canadians who own at least one smartphone or tablet and was conducted as part of a larger Brandspark Canadian Shopper Study of 65,000 Canadians. The data was collected between Nov. 10 and Dec. 23, 2014 and as in previous years, the study breaks down users into three groups: millennials, 18- to 29-year-olds without kids; moms, which it defines as 25- to 54-years-old with kids at home; and men 25- to 54-years-old.

Though smartphone owners still outnumber tablet owners, there was significant growth in tablet ownership in 2014, the research finds. For instance, 83% of millennials surveyed own a smartphone, compared with 51% for tablets, though smartphone ownership grew just 6% in the past year, compared with 18% for tablets. Among the moms’ group, tablet ownership increased 14% compared with 9% for smartphones, while among men tablet ownership grew 12% compared to 6% for smartphones. 

In households where there are kids and a tablet exists, 60% of households are sharing the device with their kids, the survey found. By comparison, in households where there is a smartphone, just 24% are sharing the more personal device with kids.

“From a targeting perspective, it’s important to know if you are targeting the parent and the message is for the parent, be aware the kids are also looking at that device as well,” Baltazar said.

App usage is also increasing, Baltazar said. While he did not share the actual growth in users, he did break down the most popular types of apps among the three groups. For the moms’ group, that’s Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube, for millennials it’s banking and weather apps, along with Instagram and for the group of men in the study, the most popular apps are for banking. Overall, Pinterest and Instagram saw the biggest growth in their user base compared to last year.

This year’s study also confirmed a trend that began to be identified last year – consumers sitting in front of a TV are easily distracted by mobile devices, despite attempts by the industry to encourage “second-screen experiences” related to TV programming. Respondents who said they watch TV while using a mobile device say that they’re on their second-screen 82% of the time interacting with something unrelated to TV programming. 

“As much as we try to integrate it, [consumers] just get distracted,” Baltazar said.

Just as tablets are taking the place of PCs, the mobile phone is also replacing the digital camera, with 70% of people who own a phone saying they use it as their primary picture-taking device. This creates new opportunities for marketers, Baltazar said, as consumers are “essentially opening a window into their lives, bringing us to the dinner table, fridge… so now we can get a better glimpse of what’s going on and better understand their world.”

Shoppers are also using mobile devices to take photos of items, which they send to a partner or friend to ask their opinion.

“We are now in an age that’s not about personal shopping but social shopping,” Baltazar said.

Baltazar says the researchers are still analyzing the data and will have more insights to share in the coming weeks.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.