Recent Trends in Mobile Shopping



Recent Trends in Mobile Shopping

Recent research conducted by Nielsen reveals that that over 45 million Americans (or 47% of all US smartphone users), utilize shopping apps on their mobile devices. The study, conducted in June of 2012, found that users access these apps seventeen times per month on average. Here’s a list of the top ten apps people are using to shop:


Figure 1 – Top 5 Shopping Apps (June 2012)


The list is revealing, with eBay and Amazon dominating the space in terms of distribution, but with Shopkick as the clear leader in average time spent using the app. Deal finding also has its place on the list, with over 16 million Americans actively using apps like Groupon and LivingSocial. While these numbers provide valuable insights in terms of distribution and engagement, it’s important to bear in mind the different use cases supported by the individual apps. While Amazon Mobile is focused on enabling mobile purchases and LivingSocial allows for finding deals, Out of Milk is supporting list making at home.

One thing to consider is that many people may be using shopping apps to enhance their in-store purchases. Nielsen researchers noted that apps like Shopkick and Out of Milk  represent “unique opportunities for apps to engage shoppers in retail locations.” Shopkick provides rewards to users who scan products at retail locations, while Out of Milk allows users to scan products to build shopping lists. Both of these apps provide users with a quick and simple way of interacting with products by incorporating a barcode scanner. Most products have a UPC code, and that code is a gateway to any imaginable content you wish to deliver. Today’s shopper wants more product information than a label can provide, and the apps that deliver it are bound for success. It’s worth mentioning though that not all scanners are created equal. For instance, Out of Milk saw a 130% increase in scans after incorporating the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK (see case study).

All in all the study reveals that more and more consumers are accessing product data through their phones, and the time is ripe for retailers to embrace the shift. Don Kellogg, Director of Telecom Insights at Nielsen, remarked that “ this data shows usage of shopping apps is growing” and went on to advise that “retailers should consider personalizing their targeted offerings around the needs of individual consumers.” We agree. Retailers who adapt to accommodate the highly mobile shopper will have the advantage as things move forward.