5 key stats on how mobile apps boost physical, digital sales

Two-thirds of US smartphone users will use shopping/retail apps by 2025, according to our forecast. As the competition for consumer dollars heats up, mobile apps can help retailers reach a more engaged audience and enable a more omnichannel shopping experience.

Here are five stats on how consumers are using mobile apps and how they help retailers boost sales.

1. Mobile is playing a larger role in how consumers shop

Key stat: Over half (52%) of adults worldwide have bought something through a mobile app, according to data from a November 2023 survey from Marigold in conjunction with Econsultancy.

  • US mcommerce sales (including sales from retail apps) will increase 11.7% to reach $542.66 billion this year, according to our forecast.
  • We expect mcommerce will represent over half of total retail ecommerce sales by 2028.

What it means: Mobile apps can increase engagement and sales. Brands that want to encourage purchases via mobile app should focus on making the journey as seamless as possible, prioritizing search and checkout capabilities.

2. Consumers are more likely to shop certain categories via mobile app

Key stat: US mobile shoppers are most likely to browse/purchase apparel and accessories via mobile app, per a June 2023 survey from Integral Ad Science.

  • Consumers also tend to use mobile apps to shop for health, personal care, and beauty products.
  • However, consumers are less likely to browse and buy big-ticket items, like auto and auto accessories and appliances, via mobile app.

What it means: Not every retailer needs a mobile app and not every app has to enable commerce. Brands selling products less likely to be bought via app should focus on providing more entertainment and education to keep consumers engaged between purchases.

3. Mobile apps are used in conjunction with physical retail

Key stat: 74% of consumers worldwide use retailer apps while they’re shopping in-store, up from 65% the year before, according to a February 2023 Airship survey conducted by Sapio Research. Other in-store behaviors that consumers conduct via phone include using loyalty cards or coupons, comparing prices, visiting a retailer’s website, and reading user reviews.

What it means: Digital and physical shopping channels are blending and retailers need to ensure a consistent customer experience across them all. Providing Wi-Fi access in-store is also important to avoid losing out on digital engagement.

4. Mobile apps can increase consumer spending

Key stat: Loyalty programs and exclusive offers are the most valuable retail app features for US consumers, according to an April 2023 study by Scanbot. Some 69.9% of consumers say these features would make them spend more, and 84.2% say it would increase their loyalty to the retailer, per Scanbot.

What it means: It pays to listen to what consumers want. The brands that provide the features consumers are looking for in a mobile app are more likely to earn their loyalty and their dollars.

5. Ad effectiveness can be hit or miss

Key stat: Over half (55%) of US mobile shoppers say that clutter on a page surrounding an ad affects their ability to pay attention to an ad in a mobile app, according to a June 2023 survey from Integral Ad Science. Other factors that can inhibit consumers’ ability to pay attention to ads include the ad’s duration and the time it takes to load.

What it means: A poor user experience can hurt consumer engagement and decrease ad effectiveness, impacting retailers’ sales and ad revenues.

This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.

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