Tablet use during the 2011 UK holiday season doubled compared with 2010, as 8 percent of consumers now use these devices as their main means of getting online, according to a new market study by eDigitalResearch and IMRG.
The results also saw record numbers of consumers visiting social media sites over two days, with just under half (45 percent) of online users logging into their accounts, up from 20.8 percent last year.
The annual Christmas activity survey also saw a 1 percent rise in the number going online with 86 percent of all UK online consumers now logging on over the two days.
Derek Eccleston, Head of Research at eDigitalResearch, said "Looking at the results, we can see that the internet is now a crucial part of everyday consumer life. Many see logging on during Christmas and Boxing Day as the norm, especially when trying out new gadgets and Christmas gifts."
The rise in tablet use and social media sites is an indication of what's to come in 2012. It's important for retailers to optimize online use across all available channels, in order to boost income and customer loyalty.
The survey also found that more and more people used the internet, as well as their smartphones, for their Christmas shopping this year. About 71 percent of consumers purchased some of their gifts online, up 1.3 percent compared with year, while half of all online consumers now say that they do the majority of their Christmas shopping online.
Approximately 18 percent of smartphone owners did up to half of their Christmas shopping online, with almost 30 percent saying that they did up to 50 percent of their pre-purchase research on their mobile device.
For the first time this year, shoppers saw discounts across the high street and online before Christmas day itself -- as retailers attempted to get consumers spending again.
Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 66 percent of shoppers said that their gift purchasing decisions were influenced by the sale promotions, while 29 percent were encouraged to buy more than they were originally planning.
Andrew McClelland, Chief Operations & Policy Officer at IMRG, said "iPads and Kindles were among the most wished-for gifts this Christmas and their popularity as a means for accessing the web is booming. The phenomenal popularity of social media is also continuing to grow at a remarkable rate, with over double the amount of people logging onto them over Christmas Day and Boxing Day compared with 2010."
Social networks and tablets should be considered as a key part of a retailer's marketing strategy, as the opportunities for consumer engagement through these channels are becoming very apparent.