Tablets are taking over. The new Adobe Digital Index, presented at the Adobe Summit last week in Salt Lake City, finds that websites are already getting more traffic from tablets than from smartphones. 

The Index's findings result from an analysis of more than 100 billion visits to over 1000 websites across the planet, and show 8 percent of traffic is from tablets while 7 percent hails from smartphones. This is the first time tablets, which only became a viable category of devices three years ago with the introduction of Apple’s iPad, have moved past smartphones. Eighty-four percent of Web traffic originates from desktops/laptops.

54 Percent More Time Online

Tablet users are Net-prone. A year ago, Adobe found tablet users spend 54 percent more time online than smartphone users, and 19 percent more than those on desktops/laptops. Although the comparison to smartphone users is startling, tablet users were always expected to be big browsers, since the devices have primarily been marketed for media/Net consumption. In recent months, some tablets, such as Microsoft’s Surface, have begun to evolve their key uses to also include productivity.

The most recent Adobe Index found that tablet users view 70 percent more pages on each Website visit than do smartphone users. This supports the general sense that smartphone users go online in quick, goal-oriented bursts, while tablet users surf and wander.

But this division between smartphone and tablet habits varies by country, the report said. Smartphone traffic is similar in the U.K., the U.S. and Canada, but tablet traffic is much higher in the U.K.

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Tablet Traffic Doubled

Additionally, U.K. surfers are more likely than French or German users to use both kinds of devices for Web visits, while smartphones are the browsing device of choice in Japan and China. The report attributes the latter situation to the longer history of Net-capable smartphones in Japan, and the higher costs in China of both tablets and high-speed mobile connectivity.

All countries saw their tablet traffic double over the last year. Tablets are popular for shopping, with the highest share of tablet traffic being received by retail sites. Automotive and travel shopping sites also get a significant amount of tablet-wielding visitors. As might be expected, telecom websites see the largest share of smartphone traffic.

The report noted different kinds of tablet-versus-smartphone shopping behavior. Smartphones are used for such mobile entertainment as streaming music or for pinpointed actions like checking a bank statement, but tablets are used to shop for larger items, such as a couch. Adobe said tablet users are buying and engaging with content, not just comparing prices or watching a video demo.

The study reaffirmed the focus of several presentations during the summit: targeted mobile marketing is key in today's landscape.