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Rising Tablet Usage Presents Opportunities And Challenges For Small Businesses

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 4/24/2012

Consumers are using iPads and Android tablets differently than smartphones, forcing small and medium-sized businesses to re-examine their mobile eCommerce strategies.

Tablet technology has hit the mainstream -- and it's changing the way consumers interact with brands, businesses and media content.

iPad Tablet and Android App Download Statistics

According to a new report by ABI Research, iPad and Android tablet users are on schedule to download an average of 31 apps per year. By 2016, it's anticipated that four out of five (80%) of tablet-based app downloads will be concentrated in games, digital publishing, social networking and eCommerce.

"Media tablet app consumption will mimic smartphone app use in some ways, but in many ways, it will be very different," says ABI Research senior analyst Mark Beccue. "Digital publishing of books, magazines, and newspapers will flourish on media tablets in a way never seen on smartphones.

Although the proliferation of magazines and similar media content may present new advertising opportunities, the most important implications for small businesses involve the eCommerce and social media opportunities that are being created by increased tablet usage.

As consumers move away from traditional computing platforms (desktops and laptops) to tablets devices, including e-Reader hybrids like the Kindle Fire, it will become increasingly important for SMBs to optimize customer experiences for mobile, tablet-powered consumers.

Likewise, small businesses will need to become more adept in connecting with customers using social media since rising demand for tablet-based social media apps is a reflection of the continued popularity of social networking among consumers.

On a practical level, this means that in addition to maintaining their normal website, small businesses may need to develop or discover apps that leverage the unique characteristics of tablet technology to enhance customer interactions with their companies and products. Small business owners should also take advantage of the many good apps for small businesses that are now available.

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