Workers who research products or services for business use are increasingly conducting their sessions with tablets, according to new findings.

The fifth annual Global Mobile Survey from IDG Global Solutions, the centralised services division of International Data Group (IDG), has demonstrated the impact that mobile devices are having on browsing habits across both the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) arenas.

More specifically, figures from the study point to tablets boosting B2B commerce, with 80% of all tablet-owning corporates using their device to research items in the evening. Smartphones weighed in with a slightly lower total of 77%.

This indicated a mismatch between tablets and smartphones, a theme that ran throughout the survey.

Tablet on top

IDG questioned over 23,000 executives and consumers to gain a clear picture of mobile usage in and out of offices across the world, with its results heralding a clear victory for the tablet.

The study reported an explosion in ownership of the device between 2011-2014, its proportion of users rising from 20% to 61% over the three-year period. Tablets are hitting a chord with the everyday consumer, as 40% have switched away from their desktop or laptop.

IDG claims this has blurred boundaries between business and personal life as so many workers now use tablets to research office products in their spare time. However, B2B sellers would be wise not to forget the importance of catering for older devices, as IDG showed that 93% of executives are making their actual purchases on laptops or desktops.

This hinted at a reluctance to pay for products via mobile due to certain issues with security and page optimisation. All in all, mobile device owners seemed happier with using tablet technology for more basic functions, such as the general consumption of online content.

It is believed that 74% of consumers use a smartphone to watch video, while 50% use a tablet to read their favourite newspaper.

The personal touch    

Despite the reservations, Christina Carstensen of IDG said the ‘mobile evolution’ is having a big impact on consumers and businesses.

“It has kick-started the ‘always-on’ culture, presenting brands with unprecedented opportunities to develop closer relationships with their customers,” she commented.

Carstensen said it is now up to brands to apply personality when reaching out to customers in the mobile world.  

“We have moved beyond media convergence to a convergence of technology and humans, and brands more than ever need to show their human side to communicate in a relevant, engaging and intuitive way.”