LONDON: Tablets like Apple's iPad are fuelling the adoption of a range of new purchase habits among European consumers, a study has revealed.

Price comparison platform Shopzilla surveyed 4,721 adults in the UK, France and Germany, and found 6% now possess a slate device, and 20% intend to buy one during the coming year.

Apple's iPad leads the consideration set, as 80% of people hoping to make a category purchase in the next 12 months were keen on acquiring this model over alternatives made by other firms.

For respondents expressing no interest in buying such gadgets, 65% agreed with the statement "I don't think it's something I need", and 23% believed they were too expensive.

Around 80% of participants who currently own one of these appliances stated it constituted an addition to the electronics already at their disposal, rather than replacing an existing offering, like a laptop.

To date, 71% of the tablet audience had either bought an item through this route or would be willing to do so in the future.

A 61% majority of the same group thought it was just as easy to achieve such objectives in this way as when utilising a computer.

Two-thirds of the panel shopped more often on their tablet than on a smartphone, where contributors owned both of these handheld tools.

"The year of mobile commerce, which has been predicted for some time, is finally here," said Rachel Smith, Shopzilla's senior director, business services.

"With the explosion of the tablet market, we are seeing a seismic change and the opportunity will be for the first-moves who get it right."

More broadly, 70% of consumers boasting an iPad or equivalent product peruse internet retail sites when watching television, falling to 29% for smartphone subscribers.

"Tablet shoppers are effective multi-taskers, and retailers can capitalise on this with tell targeted TV advertising," said Smith.

Similarly, while 53% of the former cohort had engaged in commercial activities with friends using a slate, the total slipped to 27% for mobile phones.

Smith said: "iPads and other tablet devices are also helping to drive the popularity of 'social commerce' ... whether it's hunting for bargains, browsing reviews or making purchases."

Previous research conducted by Shopzilla in the US discovered tablet penetration has reached 12%, with 26% of non-owners intending to buy a slate in the next year.

Data sourced from Shopzilla; additional content by Warc staff