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Why Tablet Shopping Matters: The Case of the $28,000 Dress

Thursday, 8 Dec 2011 | 1:37 PM ET

These days shoppers head off to the mall like generals plotting a battle. They arm themselves with shopping lists, coupons, and price comparison mobile apps, all in the name of saving a few bucks.

Inti St Clair | Blend | Getty Images

But a fresh survey out Thursday provides more evidence about how valuable tablet owners are to retailers during the holiday shopping season, and how devices such as Apple’s iPad and other tablets are aretail game-changer.

About 87 percent of tablet owners polled in a survey commissioned byZmagssaid they have been using their tablets for browsing and purchasing their holiday gifts this year. On average, these holiday shoppersare spending $325 via their tablets in categories such as electronics, clothing toys, and jewelry.

However, it’s not just the percentage of tablet owners that are using them to shop, or the amount of money that they are spending that matters most. It’s their attitudes about shopping that make these consumers so appealing.

The Zmags study found that tablet owners were happier and more excited about their shopping. They used words like “indulgent” and “generous” to describe their purchases. By contrast, consumers who don’t own tablets said they felt “impatient, stressed, or overwhelmed about shopping.”

What’s more, while most tablet owners considered themselves to be savvy shoppers, they also said they buy items on impulse and purchase luxury brands. In fact, one person who was polled said he or she purchased a hand-embroidered silk-chiffon dress for more than $28,000 via the tablet.

What else did tablet shoppers buy? Everything from cars to furniture, golf clubs to guitars, even birds and home-delivery ice cream. Apparently, there are no boundaries to what you can buy.

Convenience isn’t the sole factor driving consumers to shop on their tablets — just one-third said that was their motivation.

The study also found that tablet shopping would likely continue to thrive and displace other forms of commerce. Fifty-five percent of the tablet owners said they plan to shop more via their tablets next year, whereas only 19 percent of smartphone owners say they will shop more from their phones.

Zmags said 1,500 online shoppers, including 238 tablet owners, were polled by Equation Research for Zmags.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com. Follow Christina Cheddar Berk on Twitter @ccheddarberk.

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