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Tablet Users Spend 50% More Per Purchase Than Smartphone Owners

Rapper Lil' Wayne once boasted that he's approved million-dollar deals from his iPhone. But a new report out from Adobe Digital Marketing Insights suggests the hip-hop star would be willing to spend significantly more if he owned an iPad.

According to the study, which Adobe released today, tablet users spend over 50% more per purchase at online retailers when compared with smartphone visitors, and 20% more when compared with traditional laptop and desktop visitors. Adobe analyzed roughly 16.2 billion online transactions from 150 top U.S. retailers in 2011, finding that the mobile market has quickly become a lucrative cornerstone of the e-commerce industry.

Tablet visitors to retail websites, the report concluded, are three times more likely to make a purchase than smartphone users. What's more, tablet visitors spent an average of $123 per purchase in 2011, the most compared with other devices and a figure that spiked during the holiday season. Desktop and laptop owners spent $102 on average, while smartphone owners spent just $80 per purchase at retail.

Adobe's report is a yet another indication that online retailers must take advantage of new mobile customers—and many already have. In 2011, for example, eBay did roughly $4 billion in mobile transactions, thanks to its focus on tablet and smartphone apps. "These findings suggest that retailers can no longer afford a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to mobile optimization because Tablet Visitors and Smartphone Visitors are distinct customer segments," the report said. "Retailers should evaluate the opportunity that Tablet Visitors offer and develop strategies to better attract, convert and retain them."

The report is also especially good news for mobile-device makers. Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others have all produced tablets or smartphones with the intent of driving more sales in their online stores, where they hawk everything from books to movies to music. The findings should be a good sign for Amazon, in particular, as analysts explore whether the Kindle Fire will help drive up revenues and margins for the online retail giant.