Retailer Apps May Be for Serious Brand Fans - eMarketer

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Retailer Apps May Be for Serious Brand Fans

Most smartphone users say the most important thing is just being their favorite

November 12, 2015

By and large, mobile users prefer apps for most of their activities, and most time with the mobile internet is spent using apps. But many retailers have found it difficult to gain traction for their mobile apps.

Most Important Features of a Retailer's Mobile App According to US Smartphone Users, Sep 2015 (% of respondents)

One perennial question is whether shoppers want any given retailer’s mobile app. In September 2015 polling, GPShopper and comScore found that the most important “feature” for a retailer’s mobile app was simple: Be the mobile user’s favorite brand. More than half of US smartphone users said this.

This factor could explain another finding of the survey. A plurality of respondents (43%) reported having had a retailer’s app on their smartphone for more than a year, suggesting people have already downloaded their favorites and stuck with them.

Other things counted, though. Two in five respondents placed a lot of importance on loyalty club activities in the app, and 38% said they wanted mobile-exclusive offers. The same number demanded an app experience that was better than the retailer’s mobile website—seemingly a necessity for retailers that expect a shopper to download an app and devote space on their home screen to its icon.

Once they do make that commitment, though, the survey suggests they are loyal. Five percent reported using a retailer’s app daily, with another 23% doing so two or three times each week. Nearly a third interacted with retailer apps weekly.

Mobile App vs. Browser Share of US Retail and Travel Industry Mcommerce Transactions, Q3 2015 (% of total mcommerce transactions)

According to Criteo, 58% of US retail mcommerce transactions in Q3 2015 occurred via mobile app, with the remaining 42% happening in browsers.

August 2015 research from comScore Mobile Metrix and Cowen & Co. also found that some retailers saw a strong majority of overall time spent occur on mobile apps rather than browsers, suggesting that among specific customer bases mobile apps may have very high penetration, almost to the exclusion of other platforms. For example, 99% of time spent on Apple mcommerce properties occurred in apps.

That’s an extreme example due to Apple’s unusual position, but there were other stark results: 83% of time spent with eBay-related mcommerce occurred via the property’s app, as did 74% of time spent with Target, 72% of time spent with Etsy and 72% of time spent with Amazon.

At the other end of the spectrum were Best Buy (18% app) and The Home Depot (31% app).

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