Moffett: Just 5% of Tablets Active in Mobile Data Plans

With the proliferation of tablet options in the marketplace, consumers are increasingly faced with the difficult choice of which brand to purchase. Each device – whether it’s a Google Android tablet, Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle, or Blackberry Playbook – seems to have its own pluses and minuses in terms of technical specs, software and apps.

But when faced with the question of whether to purchase a basic WiFi-only tablet or a more expensive mobile data-enabled tablet, consumers are more easily reaching a conclusion: choosing basic WiFi-only tablets by a wide margin, according to new research by analyst Craig Moffett and covered in AllThingsD.

moffett tablet wireless

Moffett found that only 20% of all tablets sold in the US are mobile data-enabled. Of those 20% of tablets sold, only half are actively subscribed to data services. Moffett estimates that of that number, half likely unsubscribe from their data plans after some period of time. He determined that only 5% of total tablets in use currently are mobile data-enabled and participating in active data plans.

This research provides local businesses with interesting insights into how tablets fit into the path to purchase. Since the vast majority of tablet users are using WiFi, it’s likely that they’re at their home or work when they’re searching for local products and services. This is supported by results from the xAd/Telmetrics “Mobile Path to Purchase Study,” which found that smartphone users are three times more likely than tablet users to make purchases based on location proximity – since smartphone users are more actively using their mobile data plans than tablet users. Therefore, it’s imperative that local businesses customize their approaches to tablets and smartphones to take into account where consumers are more likely to be when searching for their offerings.

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