In five years, will tablets and smartphones surpass PCs in e-commerce sales?

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The gloves are off
The gloves are off


Norm Shearer, Partner and creative director at Cactus, 15 years of marketing experience

When my family got a new TV about a year ago I watched in fascination as my 12-year-old daughter immediately opened up YouTube on it (no manual, of course), to see a music video, not to watch a show.

 All of the sudden our TV is part computer — and that is what will keep it in the lead when it comes to digital commerce. Over the next several years the computer will move from the desktop to the wall and become more ingrained in our lives and our entertainment than ever.

Yes, tablets and smartphones will continue to grow and mobile technology will adapt and evolve, but they won't overtake the home computer once it moves to the wall. No one wants to gather around a smartphone or tablet for family movie night or simply to unwind.

No matter how you define them, families spend money and when it comes to entertainment, they like doing things together — TV, movies, games, music. Sure I've seen the stats and there are always those moments when each family member is on a personal device. Still, families continue to gather around the TV.

Like water, technology flows down the path of least resistance, which in this case means inevitably toward consumer convenience. Imagine: You're watching your favorite TV show and notice it's shot in Colorado. Instead of thinking “I'd love to take the family skiing” in your head, you say it out load to your TV, which promptly brings up Colorado flight and hotel info. Maybe it doesn't even stop there. Perhaps the TV also checks your work schedule, the kids' school schedules and recommends some suitable weekends.

Convenience rules. Integrate the computer with home entertainment and the possibilities start to seem limitless — and pretty cool. When it comes to advertising and branding, it's going to be quite fun for us all to play with.

Tablets and smartphones will certainly help me find deals and make purchases while out and about, but I'm looking forward to the day when I can come home, hang those itsy-bitsy devices up, then kick my feet back, watch some good old computer TV and, of course, buy something.

Direct Marketing News Decision

The trend toward mobile commerce cannot be denied, and neither can the fact that smartphones and tablets have become ubiquitous. For many, these mobile-enabled devices are consumers' primary connection to online, social and commercial channels. However, prudent marketers should make sure not to neglect still popular and well-performing traditional channels. While it is clear that the technological landscape is in constant flux, and it does seem likely that mobile will ultimately trump the PC in the long run, marketers should take an integrated approach and remain aware of the digital immigrants in the audience.

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