Mobile App versus Mobile Website Statistics

Insights on Mobile App versus Mobile Website Usage and Conversion

Mobile App or Mobile Website: Which is Right for You in 2018 and Beyond? With the mobile statistics and facts below, we hope to give you some guidance on your mobile commerce strategy for 2018.

Mobile Apps & Mobile Websites: Definitions

A mobile website is a website optimized and scaled for mobile devices. Typical features include smaller fonts, fewer page elements and less white space (when compared to desktop versions).

A mobile app is a program accessed via the internet or stored locally. Mobile apps can use device’s native features, which allows developers to create better, more intuitive and faster user experiences for customers.

In this article on mobile app versus mobile website, you will find all the strengths and weaknesses of both channels. In short: mobile apps offer a better user experience and more features like push messages but need to be downloaded first. Mobile websites are accessible for anyone on the internet. But the checkout and overall experience of mobile websites don’t meet the needs of users. Therefore the shopping cart abandonment on mobile sites is the highest of all.

Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Websites: Usage

70% of all Americans own smartphones and 50% own tablets. These mobile devices are responsible for 71% of the country’s digital traffic. Other developed nations aren’t far behind or even beating these numbers: 75% of Mexico’s internet usage is mobile, as is 71% of China’s and 67% of Spain’s.

So how do mobile users spend their time on mobile devices? Recent research shows that 90% of their mobile time is spent in apps, and only 10% browsing the rest of the internet. In the ecommerce space, the contrast is even more glaring: mobile app users spend an average 201.8 minutes per month shopping, compared to 10.9 minutes/month for website users.

In the future, expect website usage to shrink further as more and more e-commerce businesses move to web apps to accommodate consumers.

Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Websites: User Preferences

Why do consumers spend so much time within apps? That’s because consumers prefer apps over mobile sites due to user experience, speed, extra features and special offers. Compared to other businesses, mobile apps within Retail & E-Commerce are launched the most after news-apps. Especially Millennials embrace in-app shopping: 61% of Millennials say they download retail apps and 58% of millennials mentioned that they preferred purchasing through apps. Next to Millennials, Facebook shows that Moms and Multiculturals are also responsible for most of the revenue within apps.

On the internet’s 30 most-visited mobile assets, browser and app visits are about even with apps holding a slight edge – which means that apps are used about as often as websites. This happens because most users start out using a website (or web app) before downloading a brand’s native mobile app. Once a certain level of engagement has been built, users switch to the app for better user experience and speed. In other words, mobile websites are better for driving initial awareness and engagement – but latter funnel stages are best served by apps.

Mobile App or Mobile Website? Comparing Conversions

So, how do apps perform compared to other channels within e-commerce? Research done by Criteo shows that mobile apps close the deal with consumers. People view 4.2x more products per session within apps, compared to mobile sites. Apps also push more people down the purchase funnel, with 3x higher conversion rates compared to mobile sites and even 1,5 times more conversions per session than via desktop.

Why do apps perform better than mobile sites? We all know that purchasing via phone can be a painful experience. Shopping cart abandonment rates on mobile sites are much higher than on desktop, driving the global abandonment rate up to 73.4 percent. One of the reasons is that customers are annoyed and abandon their shopping cart when they have to fill out their credentials during checkout. Mobile apps solve this problem, due to saving user data.

Mobile App or Mobile Website? Retention Rate

The blog Swrve recently dubbed apps “the New Loyalty Cards” because of their strong potential for improving customer loyalty. What he meant is that apps have several key features and advantages that websites (including mobile-optimized ones) do not.

For example:

  • Apps can send push messages that keep customers engaged with your e-store.
  • App icons are visible when a user explores their phone, keeping their brand awareness high.
  • Apps can retain user data, enabling one-click checkouts and minimizing load times.

For these reasons (and a few more), 40.4% of all users buy more of a brand’s goods after downloading its e-commerce app. 45.9% also end up visiting their physical store more often. These numbers show that users not only use apps but take action after visiting them. Compare this to mobile websites, which barely retain 40% of all visitors past the first few seconds, and it’s clear why apps are important for brand loyalty.

Mobile App & Mobile Website Trends for 2018 and Beyond

As of today, m-commerce traffic drives over 50% of e-commerce in developed countries. By 2021, the rest of the world will catch up, at which point mobile devices will be the main driver of digital retail. At that point, an expected $700 billion in annual sales will be directly processed by mobile devices. With app usage taking up 90% of all mobile uptime – more than the entire browser-based internet as a whole – it’s clear that most of these sales will be driven by apps.

At the same time, it’s too early to declare the end of mobile-optimized websites. Anecdotally speaking, most users still find stores by using their browser. This means that a mobile-optimized site or excellent mobile app will continue to be an important asset for the foreseeable future, even with the above in mind.

Eager for more?

In our eBook we discuss all you need to know about:

  • the difference between native and responsive sites
  • how a shopping app can grow your business
  • what kind of ROI you can expect