by Melissa Michael
Forrester research estimates that tablet sales in the U.S. are expected to double from 26 million this year to more than 50 million in 2012. Never before has something taken off this quickly and expected to double in such a short space of time. With such rising popularity, it has become essential for businesses to discuss and implement mobile strategy, however we are now seeing that mobile strategy is not a one size fits all approach. It is important to understand how each device is used, and who uses it, to best develop a mobile strategy.
Smartphones and tablets are similar in many ways. Both have touch screens and apps, and in most cases they even run the same operating systems, however the two mobile devices are also very different devices when it comes to how people use them.
Here are some of the facts: more than 84% of American adults own feature phones , 38% of those people own a smartphone. Smartphone owners use the devices in a variety of situations but most commonly rely on their phone throughout the day, at different times, and for a few minutes or seconds at a time. Some of the most common situations are while shopping, commuting or waiting in line.
Compare this with tablet users. Most people use their tablet at home as opposed to ‘on the go’ like a smartphone. According to a Nielsen report, over half the time people spend using tablets occurs in bed or watching TV. We see that usage peaks early in the morning and in the evenings. Tablet users are more likely to utilize the device to access books, TV shows, movies and magazines. Tablet users are therefore relying on their mobile device for longer periods of time each use, as opposed to smartphone users who utilize their device often but for short bursts of time.
So, now that you have a better understanding of how a person uses the two mobile devices, what does this mean for mobile strategy?
One important lesson we are being told is that we need one product for the person who’s on the go and seeking information related to their locations, and you need another product for someone unwinding at home after a long day. Everything from the site, the type of text used, an app with text, display and rich media advertising may differ depending on which device it has been created for.
The data shows that you must have different strategies and truly different products to serve the needs of smartphone and tablet users. Examine your own tablet and smartphone audiences and really think about who uses it, and how it is being used.