We Asked Shoppers: Retailer Apps, Yes or No?

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By Published On: July 29, 20210 Comments

How are consumers making purchases and do retailers need an app? We surveyed thousands of Aussie online shoppers to find out.

Once upon a time, in a land far away (actually just a few years ago when e-commerce was still in its early stages…) apps were hailed as the next big thing. But as mobile commerce evolves and consumers integrate shopping online seamlessly whenever inspiration hits, should apps really be on the radar for retailers?

Without understanding exactly what shoppers want, retailers are making decisions in a void. Power Retail surveys thousands of consumers every fortnight to give retailers the information they need to make strategic decisions. Our last survey took a deep dive into apps, and some of the data may surprise.

So, how are shoppers making purchases? While 41 percent of purchases are made on a laptop or PC directly on a retailer website, the majority of purchases are actually made on a mobile phone (either directly to a retailer website or via an app). In the current climate, when consumers are perhaps less likely to be commuting to work or shopping while out and about, mobile commerce is still the go-to. This shows the long-term shift in buyer behaviour. Mobile shopping isn’t just about convenience or lack of choice, it’s actually become the norm. This further reinforces why mobile optimisation should be a priority for retailers. When we split shopper behaviour looking specifically at app usage, we see that almost the exact same number of mobile and tablet purchases were made via an app (29 percent) and via a website (30 percent). Consumers are shopping in a variety of ways, meaning UX needs to be optimised regardless of touchpoint.


Source: Power Retail Trajectory Report #24, July 2021

Interestingly, the number of retailer apps that shoppers have on their phone remains relatively unchanged since 2019. While the number of retailers who have apps has increased over time, this doesn’t necessarily translate into an increase in the number of apps that consumers download, plateauing at around five. This means that app real-estate is extremely competitive.

In fact, the importance of apps to shoppers has gone down over time, dropping in importance from 7.1 out of 10 in 2019 to 6.6 out of 10 in 2021. Not a huge decrease, to be sure, but enough to show that if shoppers passion for retailer apps can be summed up in a bit of a shoulder shrug accompanied by an ambivalent ‘meh’.

That being said, we know that 22 percent of shoppers on mobile are using apps (compared to 25 percent of shoppers on mobile not using them). So apps are obviously a relatively important part of the purchase funnel for many.

To find our exactly what shoppers want from apps, when and how they’re used, as well as more insights about e-commerce trends and online shopper insights, download Power Retail’s Trajectory Report #24. Free to Power Retail Switched On members!

Current e-commerce revenue and forecasting, traffic levels, average conversion rate, payment preferences and more! 

These fortnightly reports draw from the aggregate, anonymised benchmarking data of over 10 million online sessions per month from a broad cross-section of Australian online retailers, PLUS fortnightly survey data collected from a panel of over 1 million online shoppers.

Find out more about a Power Retail Switched On membership today!

About the Author: Natasha Scholl

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