Online shopping is common practice these days, but how well do we really know how consumers prioritize shopping apps on their phones?
We surveyed 4,771 respondents based in the United States using our proprietary market research solution to look at consumer sentiment towards their shopping apps, the importance of shopping apps in their lives, and the key drivers for downloading new apps on their mobile devices.
This summary offers insight to help you make informed decisions about advertising and monetizing your shopping app – especially with the holiday season right around the corner. Here are the most notable findings:
Shopping apps are a popular destination
1. 90% of respondents have multiple shopping apps on their phone, and 95% of respondents actively use at least one of their shopping apps once a month.
Almost half of the respondents (48%) have 2-4 shopping apps on their phone, 29% have 5-9, and 13% have 10 or more, with almost all using at least one frequently, signalling a level of comfort and reliance using shopping apps. What’s more, is that 67% of respondents list 1-3 shopping apps among their top 10 most used mobile apps.
Nonbinaries are super users with 22% having 10 or more apps on their phone, compared to 7% or males and 10% females. Additionally, 51% of nonbinaries consider 4 or more of their shopping apps among their top 10, compared to 30% of males and 26% of females.
Takeaway: With the majority of consumers having multiple shopping apps on their mobile phones, and shopping app downloads nearly doubling between H1 2018 and H1 2023 to over 1.5B downloads*, there's room for yours too. User acquisition strategy needs to be top of mind, in order to find the right high value customers. Test and iterate your strategy to keep ahead of the curve. To keep users engaged, make sure you’re defining your unique selling point, and all the reasons a consumer should keep coming back.
Early app exposure can help long term success
2. Over 70%** of respondents are more likely to shop from an app if it’s already on their phone.
22% of respondents are likely to download a new shopping app when they set up their phone for the first time, making it critical to get your app in front of users as early as possible. Looking at demographics, 37% of nonbinaries compared to 28% of males and 12% of females would download a new shopping app when setting up their phone for the first time. With a crowded app marketplace, being highly visible at early touchpoints can set your app up for success.
Takeaway: Getting your app on a consumer’s device early is critical for long term success, since it removes barriers to entry and makes it accessible to the consumer from the get go. Engage users right out of the box as they’re setting up their new devices with Aura from Unity.
Deals drive the download
3. 49% of the respondents are likely to download a new shopping app if it offers special promotions
Diving deeper into demographics, 56% of women are more likely to download a new shopping app if it offers special promotions and 55% of Gen X feel the same.
Takeaway: Having specialized offers exclusively available through the app is a huge incentive for first time users, such as offering a discount or monetary savings for first-time downloads especially considering who your target customer might be.
Keep shoppers connected through communication
4. 44% of respondents would like their favorite app to notify them about offers and promotions, with 26% answering that they were unsure
Almost half of respondents are comfortable with communications from shopping apps, with an opportunity to nurture those who might be on the fence. Providing relevant information for your customers can be a great retention strategy.
Takeaway: Sending push notifications to keep customers engaged doesn’t pose a threat for churn. Remember to keep your communications as relevant as possible to your customer in order to provide a deeper level of personalization.
Shopping apps secure home screen real estate
5. 57% of respondents have at least one shopping app on their home screen, as opposed to on a different page or in a folder
Shopping apps can stack up against utility-based apps for space on the home screen for most. However, both men and Gen Z are quick to delete shopping apps if certain speed bumps arise. Men are considerably more likely to delete an app because it was too complicated to navigate (22%) or because it was asking for too much personal info (21%). At 42%, Gen Z are the most likely to delete an app to free up space on their phone.
Takeaway: To keep your shopping app a favorite, consider making the UX simple, sleek and ensure you don’t take up too much space or ask for too much personal information to discourage churn.
Shopping apps are becoming more mainstream for consumers’ point of purchase, with verticals like clothing, health, and beauty primed to lead the charge. With this shift in behavior, you want to make sure there is strong app visibility, reasons to keep coming back, and easy navigation. Aura from Unity is an on-device advertising channel that recommends your app during critical moments of a device’s lifecycle, such as during device setup, as a native part of the device experience.
*Source: Source: data.ai Intelligence . Note: Includes apps in the Shopping genre using data.ai's App IQ taxonomy. iOS and Google Play combined. China is iOS only.
** 42% of respondents are more likely to shop from a shopping app if the app is already downloaded on their device with 31% saying they are unsure. This combined is 73%
- Carried out a voluntary survey to 4771 respondents, all based in the US in June 2023
- Shopping app categories were defined as Clothes, Homeware, Electrical items, Health and beauty items, Sports and outdoor and Toys and games
- Due to the unique nature of grocery shopping, all of the respondents who marked down groceries as something they buy on their phone, also marked down at least one other shopping category above
- All respondents shop through mobile apps on their phone (and possibly also mobile web, but not solely mobile web)
What are people buying on their phones
- Clothes are the most popular item bought through mobile phones, with 57% of respondents marking it down. Health and beauty items follow next at 43%
Shopping apps are a popular destination
- 64% of respondents shop through both mobile apps and through the mobile web
- 48% of respondents have 2-4 shopping apps on their phone, 29% have 5-9 and 13% have 10 or more
- 95% of respondents actively use at least one of their shopping apps once a month. 74% use 2 or more at least once a month
- 67% of respondents list 1-3 shopping apps among their top 10 most used mobile apps. 9% list 6 or more in their top 10
The battle of the shopping apps
- 35% of respondents have deleted a shopping app in the past year to free up space on their phone. 27% have done so as they only downloaded the app for a specific purchase
- Cheaper prices was the reason why 48% of the respondents would shop on one shopping app over the other
- A more convenient app and the quality of the products came in at a close second and third at 39% and 40% respectively
- 49% of the respondents would download a new shopping app if it offers special promotions, and 45% prefer an app as it’s more convenient than a website
- 22% of respondents are most likely to download a new shopping app when they set up their phone for the first time
- 42% of respondents are more likely to shop from a shopping app if the app is already downloaded on their device with 31% saying they are unsure
Showing the love for shopping apps
- 57% of respondents have at least one shopping app on their home screen, as opposed to on a different page or in a folder
- 42-47% of respondents count good customer service, buying something they were really happy with and a smooth buying process, as reasons to provide a rating in the app store of a shopping app
- 44% of respondents would like their favorite app to notify them about offers and promotions, with 26% answering that they were unsure
- 80% of females compared with 57% of males and 27% non-binaries, shop for clothes through shopping apps
- Nonbinaries are super users:
- 22% of nonbinaries have 10 or more apps on their phone compared with 7% of males and 10% of females
- 40% of nonbinaries actively use at least 5 or more of those apps at least once a month, compared to 21% of males and 18% of females
- At 51%, nonbinaries consider 4 or more of their shopping apps among their top 10 apps on their phone, compared to 30% of males and 26% of females
- Females are the most price sensitive:
- 58% of females would choose one shopping app over the other if it offered cheaper or more reasonably priced products
- At 56%, females are more likely to download a new shopping app if it offers special promotions through the app
- 37% of non-binary versus 28% of males and 12% of females would download a new shopping app when setting up their phone for the first time
- Females (33%) are considerably more likely than male (25%) and non-binary (11%) to download an app only for a specific purchase
- Males are considerably more likely to delete an app because it was too complicated to navigate (22%) or because it was asking for too much personal info (21%)
- 27% of Gen Z would download a new app if they heard about it from someone and 15% would download it after seeing a commercial
- 55% of Gen X would download it if the app offers special promotions
- Surprisingly, 5% of Gen Z do not use any shopping app once a month, compared to only 2.7% of Gen X
- At 7%, Millennials most likely to use 10 or more shopping apps at least once a month
- At 42%, Gen Z are the most likely to delete an app to free up space on their phone
- Gen X are the least likely to delete a shopping app, with 22% saying they haven’t deleted a shopping app in the past year