As Consumers Turn To Mobile Apps, Retailers Lag In Usage

Mobile apps have been holding their own in the world of shopping, but consumers are doing a lot more than that with apps.

More money is being spent per order via mobile apps compared to desktop and mobile Web site spending, according to the latest research from Criteo.

This is good news in the world of online selling, since shoppers spent more than $10 billion online during the last month, according to the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index that is  just out.

That index also showed sales by smartphones continuing to grow, which is consistent with other recent studies.

Mobile apps generate higher conversion rates than other digital portals and app users look at more products compared to desktop views, based on the worldwide Criteo study.

But there’s a catch. Smartphone owners are spending much more time on smartphone apps but most of that time is spent on apps not focused specifically on shopping.

Mobile apps have accounted for 80% of all growth in online media, according to the 2016 Mobile App Report by comScore. Of those who download apps during the course of a month, the average number of downloads is four. Only 13% fall into the category of heavy app downloaders, those who download 5 or more apps a month.

However, the top mobile apps are dominated by the largest internet companies, not retailers. For example, here are the top 10 mobile apps based on the number of monthly unique visitors, according to comScore:

  • 150 million – Facebook
  • 130 million – Facebook Messenger
  • 116 million – YouTube
  • 95 million – Google Maps
  • 90 million – Google Search
  • 87 million – Google Play
  • 79 million – Gmail
  • 77 million – Pandora
  • 76 million – Instagram
  • 67 million – Amazon Mobile

Not only are any retailers absent from the top of the list, most appear near the bottom of the top 25. After Amazon, Walmart racked up 28 million visits through its mobile app and eBay got about the same.

Another potential downside for merchants is that push notifications, some of which may be desirable as a person actively shops, is on the downswing.

Last year, a third (33%) of consumers often or always agreed to an app’s request to allow push notifications. That number is now down to 27%, with more than a third (38%) saying they never or rarely want them.

So there is shopping via mobile app and then there is mobile app usage.

Of online shopping that is happening, mobile continues its march to dominance. This is key, since the majority (73%) of U.S. shoppers plan to shop online this holiday season. Counter to other studies, the Holiday Consumer Poll by Rubicon Project found that 22% of U.S. shoppers do not plan to do any in-store shopping this time around.

Serving mobile shoppers is becoming a bit more complex, since consumers have their phones with them all the time. The tricky part is determining when and how a retailer should engage with that consumer.

The mobile consumer can be shopping all the time. Retailers will have to pick their moments.


2 comments about "As Consumers Turn To Mobile Apps, Retailers Lag In Usage".
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  1. Brian Kelly from brian brands, September 21, 2016 at 9:51 a.m.

    Maybe a typo?
     IMGR Capgemini eRetail Sales Index 
    should be IMRG

    Further, isn't this is limited to UK retail sales.

    So are the Criteo, comScore and Rubicon data sets also limited to the UK?
    Or is this a global mash up?

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, September 21, 2016 at 10:47 a.m.

    Thank you, Brian; intent as a general indicator of market directions.

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