Consumers And Shopping Apps: A Personal Connection?

Consumers don’t just want retailers to provide custom shopping apps: they can be downright offended when merchants don’t.

That’s one of the more surprising findings presented by an eMarketer study that looks at Adobe and Harris Interactive reports to determine how consumers view shopping apps, what drives them towards adoption and how their relationship with a brand is strengthened or weakened through the use of mobile tools.

In this edition of’s Data Point, we explore just how consumers feel about shopping apps, and what that could mean for the retail industry moving forward. 

How Do Consumers Feel About Shopping Apps?

Among smartphone owners, around two-thirds indicated they tend to download a shopping app after they’ve already been exposed to the brand and that they only use shopping apps from their favorite stores: no big surprises there. What’s more promising, though, is that 42 percent indicated that shopping apps strengthen their connections to brands, and 37 percent said using shopping apps makes them become more favorable towards that brand. Perhaps most interestingly, 21 percent said they’d download an app specifically to get to know a brand better.

For tablet owners, the results were largely the same, though they proved slightly more likely to download apps after brand exposure and slightly less likely to find that an app strengthened their brand connection.

Where Are The Apps Discovered? 

Unsurprisingly, 42 percent of consumers said they learned about new shopping apps via an app store, and 37 percent indicated friends made them aware. What’s clear is that generating awareness online is clearly more effective than doing so in-store, as 32 percent said they found apps via the website of the company sponsoring said app, while 25 percent learned of apps while on Facebook. Compare this to the 22 percent who said they learned of apps by visiting physical stores, and its clear that retailers still have some work to do in this department.

Why Do Consumers Want Shopping Apps?

The top reason consumers cited for wanting retailers to offer shopping apps is a pretty simple and reasonable one: 30 percent said they want to check inventory and avoid trekking to a store for an item that’s out of stock or not carried to begin with. A quarter of consumers said they’d worry about missing out on deals without an app, while 17 percent were worried about losing time and 12 percent cited losing money as a concern.

Interestingly, consumers felt respect and modernity was at issue when it comes to shopping apps as well. Nineteen percent indicated that a lack of app means a retailer could be old-fashioned, while 7 percent indicated a lack of app could hurt their loyalty to a store or could mean the retailer doesn’t respect its customers. That some consumers are perhaps willing to take personal offense if retailers don’t offer apps is surprising, and offers an interesting glimpse at where the industry is headed.

To read more shopping app statistics, read the full eMarketer findings here.


Latest Insights: 

The Which Apps Do They Want Study analyzes survey data collected from 1,045 American consumers to learn how they use merchant apps to enhance in-store shopping experiences, and their interest in downloading more in the future. Our research covered consumers’ usage of in-app features like loyalty and rewards offerings and in-store navigation, helping to assess how merchants can design apps to distinguish themselves from competitors.

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