Smartphone-owning shoppers prefer mobile retail websites to apps: Nielsen

AFP Relax News

New research from data analyst Nielsen suggests that retail websites are more popular with smartphone owners than dedicated mobile apps.

“Smartphone owners are increasingly using their devices for shopping, from researching products and reviews, to comparing prices, finding retail locations, and redeeming coupons,” said Nielsen in the March 12 report.

Smartphone owners of both genders said they preferred to visit a retailer’s mobile website, thoughNielsen did not clarify why. It may be because most consumers find it easier to access a mobile website on the go than to download an app, especially if they believe their visit to the mobile site is a one-off occurrence.

In a January 5 report market researcher Forrester echoed a similar trend and advised mobile developers to “start with web; move to hybrid” when given the choice of creating a native app or web-based mobile site.

Apple has launched a new section within its App Store for apps falling under the banner of “Catalogs.” The category focuses on apps that provide consumers with new ways to discover products and brings paper catalogues into the digital age.

According to Nielsen men were more likely to download a retailer’s app than their female counterparts. Those that did download retailers’ mobile applications tended to spend more time browsing or shopping for products with it.

Close to 3 out of 5 shoppers in the US visited a website or used a retail app from market leaders Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Target and Walmart during the 2011 holiday season. Amazon had the most popular retail website among all its competitors.

The mobile websites of Target and Walmart were more popular with female consumers while Best Buy was most popular with male consumers.

The study tracked the habits of 5,000 smartphone users in the US during the 2011 holiday season.