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Shopping app use grows 30% in 2021 as shoppers continue to use mobile even as stores open

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Mobile shopping apps continue to boom, with Android making some surprise gains
Mobile shopping apps continue to boom, with Android making some surprise gains
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The move to mobile during the pandemic is here to stay, with app usage growing 30% in 2021 and no signs of slowing

Mobile shopping has persisted despite the initial global reopening of stores, a promising sign that these growth trends are here to stay, a global study suggests.

 

Specifically, the analysis by Liftoff, a global performance-based mobile app marketing optimisation platform, in partnership with the global data and analytics company App Annie and native mobile app platform Poq, reveals a 30.1% increase in purchase rates from Jan 2021 to May 2021 (growing from 15.3% 19.9%). Purchase sizes also spiked, with baskets hitting a high $88 in June 2021, compared to January’s $74 – a 15.8% increase.

 

The analysis highlights that consumers flocked to mobile retail amid COVID-19 restrictions, boosting a years-long trend of increased adoption in the sector. Globally, the report shows mobile users spent 49% more time on these apps since January 2020, reaching nearly 18 million hours spent weekly in April 2021. Regionally, APAC experienced the most significant growth in time spent (54%), followed by the Americas (40%) and Europe and the Middle East (EMEA) (38%).

 

Interestingly, the study also points to Android’s outperformance of iOS in key marketing metrics. In the ongoing “platform wars,” Android shows great promise—especially in retail. Android users were highly-engaged with shopping apps, spending a collective 2 billion hours a week on these apps as of May 2021, a 51% increase year-over-year.

 

The report found that Android’s $2.13 cost-per-install (CPI) was 55% less expensive than the $3.85 of iOS, while simultaneously offering a greater install-to-action rate: 16.5%, compared to the 11.3% of iOS.

 

“We are living in an era that will be defined by mass adoption of new technologies, and retail apps are reaping the benefit—our analysis over the last five years has shown a strong and continuous trend of consumers racing to these platforms and forming new shopping habits,” says Mark Ellis, co-founder and CEO of Liftoff. “Continued interest in mobile shopping—even amid physical reopening - suggests that this isn’t an ephemeral trend but a new normal that will outlast these Covid times.”

 

"As the retail industry moves toward pandemic recovery, time spent in mobile shopping apps is up 30% YoY," confirms Sam Yang, SVP Global Field Operations, App Annie. "Retailers have heavily relied on mobile commerce over the past year to make up for the decrease in in-person purchases. Even as the pandemic restrictions are lifted and stores open to in-person shopping, we predict that mobile commerce will continue to rise and present a key element for retailers to capitalise on."

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