By Durk Price

I love data. I’m kind of a data geek.  But sometimes I get a slightly irked at the methodology behind the numbers.  For the past few months my irritation has been specifically centered on the flood of data coming out about tablet use related to online shopping.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPad and I’m thrilled to know that people use theirs (and other tablets) to shop online. I do it all the time. However, I’m not sure that way market research firms are coming up with these figures is an accurate representation of the overall mobile ecommerce market.

My beef is that tablets have been lumped in with other devices such as smart phones. On the surface that seems to makes sense. But when I really think about it, why not add sales that originated from laptops (and netbooks) to that category? Those devices are intended to be mobile as well.

My Problem is that I consider mobile shopping to be something that takes place when sites are optimized for these specific mobile platforms or purchases are made through an app. Just like a laptop, most tablets use a mobile browser but many of the sites I visit and shop at when using my iPad are not optimized for the particular platform or device.

I think this all seemed to come to light for me around Black Friday. Many consumers were on the go and figures began coming out about how many people used their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) to track deals and make purchases. I’m fine with that because much of the data centered on downloaded apps. But there was still a portion of research that focused on purchases made from mobile devices and included tablets as part of that category.

Of course, Christmas rolled around and consumer began receiving tablets as gifts and starting using them to make purchases. For me, that’s when the numbers seemed to get over hyped. I don’t mind when the data is broken out by specific device but when tablets and smartphones are categorized together, it bothers me.

We’ve got e-commerce for all things done on a computer or a laptop, m-commerce for all things mobile so now we need t-commerce for all things tablet. Let’s keep them all separate and not use the tablet to hype mobile shopping.


What do you think?