In the past several years, mobile retail apps have taken off. From in-store shopping experiences to purchasing through an app on the couch, a 2017 study found that 46% of American shoppers “prefer to use their smartphones for the entire purchase process.”
CivicScience asked just under 2,000 Americans about their shopping habits using retailer’s mobile apps, both in and out of stores.
43%, nearly half of Americans surveyed, have downloaded a retailer’s mobile app. While downloads don’t necessarily mean purchases, it’s a surprise nonetheless.
People who have downloaded a retailer’s app are likely to be frequent online shoppers. They’re more likely to visit stores and then make the purchase online, as well as showroom across multiple websites when purchasing something. Interestingly enough, retailers’ apps typically keep a shopper within a single store’s offerings, eliminating the opportunity to price compare. Perhaps the convenience of shopping and purchasing within a single app beats out comparing price for this audience.
People who have downloaded retailers’ apps are not digital natives. They’re more likely to be 35-54, and make more than $100k annually.
When it comes to purchasing behavior, people who download a store’s app are much more likely overall to make a mobile purchase.
Most notable, of those who have downloaded a retailer’s mobile app, 43% say they more frequently use a mobile site over the app.
CivicScience also asked U.S. shoppers about their experience purchasing with retail mobile apps.
16% of Americans have used a retail app while shopping in the store. This group is 3x more likely to visit stores and then buy online. They also showroom across multiple websites. It’s possible in this case that these shoppers might be using competitors’ apps in the store to price compare. This group is also more likely to favor locally-owned businesses. Once again, this age group is more likely to be 35-54 years old.
20% of Americans surveyed have used a retail mobile app while not in the store. This audience is more likely to be addicted to their digital device and is most influenced by social media. It’s likely they are shopping in the app itself. Unlike responses profiled above, this audience skews to a younger, 18-34-year-old set.
Just under half of Americans have downloaded a retailer’s app, with nearly an even split of these respondents using the app in-store and at home. Regardless of the purchases being made through the app, it’s apparent the apps are changing purchasing behaviors for shoppers. From making it easier to price compare in-store, to simplifying the shopping process for digital device addicts, the mobile app is growing and changing, the retail space. People are shopping on their phones now more than ever, it’s just a question of if these mobile shoppers will migrate their purchases into store apps, or if they’ll continue to browse and purchase on mobile sites.