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Four-Out-Of-Five Consumers Use Shopping App At Least Once A Month

While shopping apps are clearly here to stay, they still need to work to take advantage of location.

The role of apps as in-store guides and virtual sales reps continues to become commonplace, forcing brick-and-mortar retailers to rethink the concept of “point-of-sale” as wherever their physical customers happen to be standing.

Two thirds of shoppers have three — or more — shopping apps on their phone, according to mobile marketing platform GPShopper’s 2015 Mobile Shopping and Payments Survey. Based on responses for 2,000 random U.S. online users, four-out-of-five say they use one or two of those shopping apps at least once a month, while three-out-of-four tell GPShopper that they currently have a branded app from one of their favorite retailers on their phones.

The report, which was commissioned by GPShopper and conducted by online audience measurement comScore, debuted at the Money20/20 Conference in Las Vegas, during a session entitled “The Smartphone, Mobile Payments and Mobile Shopping Apps,” and gathered data from nearly 2,000 U.S. participants.Future_of_Mobile_Commerce_and_Mobile_Marketing_400

The GPShopper survey sheds more light on the way consumers use apps as shopping assistants and amplifies an earlier comScore study that found people spend more time on their phones than on their PCs when it comes to retail activity. But it also reflects the varying levels of engagement and attachment to mobile apps.

According to an Interactive Advertising Bureau study (pdf), consumers spend 88 percent of their mobile internet time in apps, compared to 12 percent of their daily digital activity on desktop. But as mobile insights provider Localytics has discovered, just 22 percent of users only ever open an app once, while 34 percent of users open an app 11-plus times. By emphasizing their value as a utility — and regularly updating its content with new features and offers — shopping apps can stay ahead of the general trends of app dis-engagement.

The Sweet Spot

The sweet spot for how many shopping apps one consumer might have appears to be between 3 and 5. 26 percent of those who said they had shopping apps on their phone fell into this bracket.

Other topline findings include:

  • 23 percent have one or two shopping apps on their phone
  • About 18 percent keep between six to 10 retail-based apps with them
  • A distinct minority have 11 percent have 11-to-25 shopping apps on their phones, though there’s as many as 7 percent of respondents who counted over 25  apps as part of their shopping arsenal. Even with the expanded memory of modern smartphones, this shopping apps is a significant minority compared to the others.

Overall, 87 percent of all respondents confirmed that they do have at least one shopping app on their phone, making the customers who don’t use their mobile devices for any kind of in-store service are vastly outnumbered by those who do.

Last year, GPShopper reported that mobile apps had made a huge splash over the holiday shopping season and predicted that this year, it will be beacons that are making the difference. But based on the numbers, it doesn’t look like shopping apps have diminished in the slightest in terms of ubiquity.

While mobile shopping apps clearly have entered the mainstream, there’s still room for improvement – specifically in one area that many still are lacking: location. But even when those apps do provide location-relevant capabilities they face another challenge. Skyhook reported last week that though over 80 percent of consumers think that location is “crucial” to their mobile experience, more than half are leaving their geo signals turned off. If mobile shopping apps really want to make the most of this holiday season, incentivizing consumers to use their location services might be the smart way to go about it.

About The Author
Daniel Parisi Daniel Parisi @daniel_parisi_

Daniel Parisi is a New York City-based writer and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Daniel specializes in coverage of mobile payments, loyalty programs, and the Internet of Things.