An Appetite For Apps: Many Shoppers Prefer Them Over Websites

An Appetite For Apps: Many Shoppers Prefer Them Over Websites

by , Columnist, May 19, 2022

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. 

Most people have at least one shopping app on their phone, and half have more than four, NewStore reports.