News Feature | November 6, 2014

Mobile App Purchases To Drive Sales This Holiday Season

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer

Growing Mobile App Purchases This Holiday

As retail analysts make their predictions for the 2015 holiday shopping season, Artisan Research surveyed 500 mobile app users in September 2014. The group has released their results, and the data indicates to retailers that mobile apps will be a heavy factor in driving consumer product browsing and purchases this holiday season.

“Consumers are shopping on apps more than ever before, and we'll see apps play an even bigger role this holiday season than last year,” says Bob Moul, CEO of Artisan Mobile.

To participate in the survey, a respondent had to meet several criteria: They must be a current smartphone or tablet owner, and must have experience navigating mobile apps for product purchases beyond media, such as video games, music and books. The demographics of the survey encompassed a wide range, with 55% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 35, and 31% between the ages of 36 and 55, and the remaining respondents older than age 55.

According to the survey, 91% of respondents expect to make purchases through for a mobile and or tablet app for the holiday season. This result was a 14% increase over last year's results. Not surprising,  96% of respondents planned to use apps to browse for and research products. This answer was 8% higher than last years respondent results. The data will likely excite retailers who are looking to increase sales through the use of mobile apps this holiday season. Artisan Research found that 10% of respondents planned to do 90% or more of the holiday shopping via an app, and 25% planned to do the same.

Perhaps the most critical takeaway for retailers from the survey results is the discussion on conversion is facilitated through mobile apps. 51% of respondents indicated they “frequently or “always” make purchases through another channel after browsing products on mobile apps. For the same question, 40% said they “occasionally” do and only 9% indicated they rarely or never did. For retailers working on developing apps as part of their multiple channel approach, the results are positive.

A number of retailers currently use apps to increase consumer engagement, help guide purchase decisions, and allow shoppers to shop easily from the comfort of their own home. Popular mobile apps by retailers include Macy's, Target, Apple, and Starbucks. Macy's recently expanded their Shopkick beacons throughout every store in the chain. The survey demonstrates that once they begin using a retailer's mobile app, consumers maintain a fierce loyalty. 75% of respondents indicated they were “very or extremely loyal” to apps they've used for previous purchases or browsing on their mobile devices, while 45% responded that they were “very loyal” trying the apps first, but could end up making a purchase elsewhere, and finally, 30% indicate they were “extremely loyal” and these apps are their preferred choice for purchases.

“Apps are becoming such a critical part of the shopping experience, and that’s why retailers and marketers need to understand how to deliver a personalized experience that will engage their app users – who also tend to be a brand’s most loyal customers,” said Moul.

As technology advances, more retailers than ever are launching mobile apps. The data obtained by the survey shows that consumers are embracing these innovations, using up to four or more apps. 75% of the respondents stated they used mobile apps for purchases multiple times a month, while 47% indicated they did the same weekly.  Nearly all respondents indicated that the use of mobile apps for browsing and purchasing products had increased for them, with 94% of respondents stating so. The data collected illustrates the importance of using a mobile app for retailers, as a way to inform customers about their products.