Smartphone owners are increasingly using their devices for shopping, from researching products and reviews, to comparing prices, finding retail locations, and redeeming coupons. And retailers are responding with mobile apps and websites designed to attract smartphone shoppers. So, who’s winning so far? Nielsen’s detailed analysis of smartphone usage reveals that retail websites are more popular than retail apps, and that Amazon’s is the most popular retail mobile website of all.
Nielsen’s metering of the smartphones of 5,000 U.S. volunteers participating in Nielsen’s mobile research shows that during the 2011 holiday season, the top retail apps and websites combined — Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Target and Walmart — reached nearly 60 percent of smartphone owners. “The majority of smartphone owners used their devices for shopping this past holiday season,” said John Burbank, President of Strategic Initiatives at Nielsen. “Mobile shopping has reached scale and is only going to grow as smartphone penetration continues to rise.”
Other insights on US smartphone owners’ use of retail apps and websites:
- Smartphone owners of both genders prefer retailers’ mobile websites over mobile apps, with men slightly more likely to try retailers’ mobile apps than women. However, consumers who use retailers’ mobile apps tend to spend more time on them.
- Target and Walmart skew female when it comes to their mobile websites, while Best Buy skews male. Amazon and eBay appeal to both genders.
- All of the top 5 mobile retail websites experienced a “bump” during the days leading up to and following Black Friday, led by Amazon. This seasonal lift did not translate into an increase in regular usage, however. By January, active reach was back to October 2011 levels.
“Retailers need to think of their business as a multi-channel environment that can potentially include mobile, online, and bricks and mortar stores,” said Burbank. “Winning with shoppers requires a consistent experience across channels that reinforces the values you represent as a retail brand, whether it be price, service, reviews, selection, style, or other key attributes.”