Mobile Commerce

Retail Apps Finally Gaining Ground With Shoppers

There are more ways to connect to the Internet now than ever, and while that may give consumers the freedom they crave, it’s caused havoc for retailers trying to get their products in front of customers in the most cost-efficient manner. However, new numbers suggest that yet another channel is emerging as a shopper favorite for online sales.

According to a recent report conducted by Sensor Tower, the number of sales made on iOS devices during Black Friday week increased by 17 percent, compared to the same period in 2014, to reach a total of 5.82 million transactions. As an indication for just how comfortable shoppers have grown with mobile purchases over the space of just a year, 2014’s Black Friday week caused just a 2 percent spike in sales, compared to the weeks before and after.

“The growth is primarily due to the learnings and [work] a lot of the best retail companies have done over the last year or so,” Alex Malafeev, cofounder of Sensor Tower, told CNBC. “They’ve gotten a lot better at making the buying experience easier inside the mobile app.”

The Sensor Tower data also indicated that many of 2015’s app-based shoppers may have been first-time converts. Black Friday alone saw more than 25 percent more downloads for shopping apps than 2014, representing a concerted effort by consumers to acquire the new tools that would make sense for their altered shopping habits in 2015. Unsurprisingly, Amazon constituted the most downloads in this area, with over 200,000 individual downloads of its app. Walmart had to settle with fourth place at 45,000 downloads, and eBay chugged into fifth with just 24,000 clicks.

While it’s silly to think that one holiday season soon will be dominated by nothing but in-app mobile purchases, the sudden surge in consumer interest proves that the platform isn’t going anywhere over the next several years. And as brands adapt to accommodate for yet another retail frontier, consumers have shown that they’ll be right on their heels if the stars align and the prices are right.

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