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Tablet owners cool with buying items through their devices

Tablet users are more comfortable buying items through their devices than are smartphone or laptop owners, says a new study from JiWire.

Eric Franklin/CNET

Tablet owners are quite comfortable buying goods and services through their devices, a trend that's fueling the growth in mobile shopping, says mobile media firm JiWire.

As tablet ownership has doubled over the past year, a new study from JiWire found that 82 percent of tablet users are OK buying items through their mobile devices (either tablets or smartphones), compared with 76 percent of smartphone users.

Further, tablet owners aren't afraid to spend big bucks. A full 67 percent of the tablet users are willing to spend $50 or more on a purchase, compared with just 57 percent of smartphone owners and 52 percent of laptop owners. The most popular items and services bought by tablet owners were electronics, retail goods, entertainment, and travel.

Overall, tablet usage has grown by 84 percent since the fourth quarter of 2010, says JiWire. And both tablets and smartphones are surging at the expense of laptops. Since the third quarter, tablet usage rose 20 percent and smartphone use climbed 24 percent, but laptop usage fell by 10 percent.

Breaking it down by age, people under 25 said they were more likely to buy a smartphone and/or a laptop in the next six months, while those between 25 and 44 are more inclined to buy a tablet.

The increasing use of mobile devices is affecting how people shop both online and offline.

Among consumers included in the study, 66 percent said they'd rather buy a $50 item at a store if they're within five miles of it. But 72 percent would rather make the purchase via their mobile device if they're more than 20 miles away from the store.

Further, 28 percent said they comparison shop on their mobile device in the store, while 18 percent actually use their device to buy an item even if they're in the store. Finally, 63 percent of the consumers prefer to shop both in store and online. Only 22 percent would rather shop exclusively in the store.

"The retail experience remains critical," David Staas, senior vice president of marketing at JiWire, said in a statement. "While consumers are increasingly using mobile to research and make purchases, we are seeing that the in-store shopping experience is equally if not more important, even with a tech-savvy audience."

JiWire's study was based on data collected from 315,000 public Wi-Fi hot spots as well as a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers from July to September 2011.