An Appetite For Apps: Many Shoppers Prefer Them Over Websites

Here’s a suggestion for email teams trying to drive ecommerce sales via mobile: Offer an app. 

Almost one out of three U.S. consumers -- 31% -- prefer mobile shopping apps to mobile websites and other channels, according to a study released Thursday by NewStore. But be advised that 45% will refrain from downloading apps because of privacy concerns. 

That preference for apps presumably excludes email.

"A well-constructed branded app effectively becomes a loyalty device to reach the best customers," says Phil Granof, CMO of NewStore. "Through a combination of in-app chat between customers and associates, and well-timed promotional notifications made visible on the home screen, the need for email decreases dramatically." 



Of consumers polled, 88% have one or more shopping apps on their phone, and 50% have more than four.

Overall, 15% use these apps daily, 37% a few times per week, and 26% use them a few times per month. 

The study defines mobile shopping apps as those created by specific brands like Nike or H&M, and not marketplace apps like Amazon, Walmart, or Target. 

The biggest app users are young people -- 96% of 18- to-44 year-olds have at least one mobile app, versus 75% of people ages 45+. 

Why do they prefer apps over mobile websites, say? Proponents say mobile apps provide:   

  • Better user experience (e.g., easier to use) — 60% 
  • Better promotions/discounts — 51% 
  • Access to exclusive products — 30% 
  • Better loyalty program — 30% 
  • Better customer service — 23% 

Don’t think everyone is in love with apps. Consumers cite these reasons for not downloading them:

  • Concerns about security/privacy — 45%
  • Don’t want more apps on my phone — 43%
  • The app doesn’t have features that are better than the brand’s mobile website — 40%
  • Don’t have enough phone storage — 32% 
  • Takes too long to download — 18% 
  • None of the above — 10% 

The study also found that 64% of shoppers would browse and/or purchase apparel via apps. Shoes are in second place, with 55% saying they would browse for them, followed by accessories (44%) and furniture (42%).  

But there is a limit when it comes to high-ticket items. Only 25% would actually purchase furniture by app. 

Meanwhile, 71% are interested in mini apps (apps that do not require downloading). 

NewStore surveyed 610 U.S. consumers in 2022. 

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