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App-and-mortar economy: Retail apps usage surges 525%


App-and-mortar economy: Retail apps usage surges 525%


Forget bricks and clicks, as the world becomes more mobile retailers are looking at the reality of an app-and-mortar economy, according to app services firm Flurry.

The US based measurement specialist found time spent in retailer apps grew by 525% during December 2011 and December 2012, in a study of more than 1,800 iOS and Android shopping apps.

Retailer apps indexed well above the general shopping category, which was broken down into five sub-categories: retailer apps, price comparison, purchase assistant, online marketplace and daily deals. Together, these five categories experienced 274% growth throughout the year.

The opportunity for retailers to extend their relationship with consumers outside the store has never been greater, Simon Khalaf of Flurry writes. “In the new mobile app economy, devices are always with you, always on and always connected… In the new app-and-mortar economy, they serve as virtual, portable show rooms that consumers can use to shop anytime, anywhere.”

This growth in retail apps exceeds overall app growth, which came in at 132% over the course of 2012, showing the uptake of retail outpacing general app growth. Time spent in price comparison and purchase assistant apps has grown significantly, up by 247% and 228% respectively. However online marketplace and daily deals apps did not grow as quickly, with 178% and 126% increases respectively.

Retailers saw the greatest increase in share of time spent, which grew from 15% of time spent by consumers in shopping apps in 2011 to 27% by the end of 2012. The enormous growth in retailer app share has come largely at the expense of daily deals, down in share from 20% to 13%, and online marketplace apps, which contracted from 25% to 20%.

This suggests that retailers are beginning to better respond to the tectonic shift created by the collision of online- meeting offline-shopping through mobile apps, Khalaf says

Retailers need to re-examine the consumer relationship from the ground up and through the lens of mobile-first, Khalaf concludes.


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