More than 70 percent of tablet owners use the devices to shop online, according to a survey released on Monday.

Online retailer analysed the behaviour of over 4000 connected South Africans, which revealed that 73.4 percent of tablet owners were using the device to shop online.

“The growth of mobile shopping in the last year has been fuelled by the vigorous uptake of tablet devices,” marketing head Liz Hillock said in a statement.

The number of tablet owners was set to grow, as close to 60 percent of shoppers who did not currently have tablets were considering buying one.

“Tablets are portable and, with their touch screens and intuitive interfaces, they have become a more tactile and convenient way to access the internet and shop online.”

The survey revealed the Apple iPad as the most popular tablet, followed by Samsung Galaxy.

It also showed more than a third of connected shoppers owned a tablet and used it to shop online for items such as electronic books, music, flight tickets, or for banking.

Hillock said a growing number of women were buying tablets.

“From 2010 to July 2011, males were the predominant purchasers of tablets (at 64 percent) while the number of female tablet buyers was a mere 36 percent.

“This is changing, as from August 2011 to date, 54 percent of tablet buyers are male and 46 percent female.”

The survey showed that in terms of smart phones, Blackberry remained the favourite for mobile shoppers, with the Apple iPhone in second spot.

The increase in internet access via mobile devices coincided with the growth of mobile shopping transactions recorded over the last year.

In 2012, 37.3 percent of the respondents indicated they had already made a purchase on their smart phones, while 63.2 percent indicated they were considering it.

“Shoppers are clearly becoming comfortable and confident with the idea of transacting through their cellphones,” said Hillock.

“In fact, the survey also shows that 98 percent of South Africans connected feel that accessing the internet on their smart phones is as safe, or safer, than accessing it via their computer.”

This year's mobile shopping survey confirmed an increasing number of shoppers would be transacting and shopping through their cellphones in the near future. - Sapa