Retailer Apps Embraced by Consumers Worldwide

Survey: Retailer Apps Are Embraced by 78% of Consumers Worldwide

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Retailer apps are having a moment, one that will likely get even bigger. According to a survey of 11,000 consumer respondents conducted by Airship, a mobile-app management platform that has worked with brands including the BBC, GameStop, McDonald’s, and Vodaphone, 78 percent of respondents said they use retail mobile apps for shopping.

The percentage of use was even higher for higher-income households, with 82% reporting that they shop using retail apps.

Millennials were the heaviest users of retail apps at 81%, followed by Gen X (79%). About 72 % of Gen Z and Boomers reported using these apps for shopping.

Corey Gault, VP of Communications at Airship, said the adoption of retailer apps among consumers has risen overall. Globally, 33% of respondents indicated they are using retailers’ mobile apps more than the prior year, and 45% said they are using them at about the same level.

“In our 2022 report, 39% of consumers indicated they were using retail apps more often than the year before,” Gault said. “ And 37% said their use was about the same. Collectively, this shows regular use of retailers’ mobile apps has ticked up another 2% in the past year across our sample of 11,000 global consumers.”

Remember “showrooming?” That behavior is now so common that the term has fallen out of use in recent years. These days, consumers use retailer apps while shopping in-store for myriad reasons, not just price comparison. Retailers seem to have turned showrooming to their advantage.

Respondents said they opt-in to receive brand communications via apps for discounts, loyalty rewards, and personalized offers, thereby strengthening CRM. Location data makes right-place-right-time offers especially effective.

Gault added that mobile apps have become a primary destination for consumers due to simple, contextual interactions, faster transactions, and streamlined experiences.

“Customers with their mobile apps generate more revenue with a higher likelihood of repeat purchases, and they provide retailers with unique and compelling opportunities to personalize offers and the customer experience overall,” Gault explained.

Customers who share their preferences in order to receive more personalized service also have greater control over their data, and they “can easily shut down brands that aren’t meeting their needs,” Gault said. “App and message interactions, even at an anonymous level, provide more insight for brands to make informed decisions as opposed to only considering purchase data and known customers.”

Mobile apps are also the most effective way to connect a shopper’s digital and physical experiences. The findings show that consumers in Asia have the highest adoption and use of retailer apps. Behaviors such as using in-app loyalty coupons, scanning QR codes, price comparisons, and self-checkout had the highest percentage in Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Digital coupons are easily stored in mobile wallets. QR codes provide more information about a product, including its specs, and reviews from customers who have purchased them. Some customers even use mobile apps for In-store navigation, if that feature is built in for quicker and easier location of desired items. And if features such as mobile payments are part of the app, customers can check out of the store with ease.

In the West, the United States and Canada reported exhibiting the highest percentage of these app-related behaviors while some countries in Europe, where GDPR is enforced, reported lower percentages of adoption and use. The percentage of these retail-app behaviors ranged from about 50-75 percent among respondents in the U.K., France, and Germany.

Gault said it’s worth noting that the French are just as likely to use the retailer’s app as they are to visit its website, while Germans prefer using apps over websites, which are behaviors that are unique among the 10 countries surveyed.

“Overall inflation levels in continental Europe, which are trending higher than in the U.S., could also be driving a more defensive behavior towards consumption as well,” he said.

Airship Survey Results

The survey was completed in partnership with Sapio Research in February 2023 among 11,000 consumers, age 18 and older in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Brazil.

Kathleen Sampey