A report released by Nielsen Wire says that this past June, 45 million Americans—or 47 percent of American iPhone and Android owners—chose to engage with retailers via mobile apps, not just once, but an average of 17 times. In June alone, nearly 13.2 million unique smartphone owners accessed eBay Mobile, the most popular shopping app for the month. Trailing close on eBay’s heels were Amazon Mobile and Groupon, with about 12.1 and 11.9 million unique users, respectively. As impressive as these three apps’ numbers are, however, the fourth-ranking app, Shopkick, which had 6.5 million unique users, blew its competition out of the water when it came to user engagement time: 3 hours and 20 minutes, on average, over the month of June. That’s the equivalent of almost seven minutes per day.
Granted, a study released in March also by Nielsen Wire revealed that both males and females preferred mobile retail websites to retail apps – but it also stated that “shoppers who do access retail apps tend to spend more time on them than those that access retail sites from the mobile web.” With Shopkick bringing in over 3 hours of engagement per user per month and eBay accumulating a less impressive but still significant 1 hour, it’s no wonder why.
So what do these data mean for mobile shopping? Don Kellogg, Director of Telecom Insights at Neilsen, says they indicate that “consumers are willing to use smartphone apps to enhance their shopping experience.” From the looks of it, he’s indisputably correct. But we also think the data says something richer, about exactly how American consumers want to use mobile retail apps. That is, they crave apps that create a seamless shopping experience by bridging the gap between digital and brick-and-mortar retail. Shopkick provides just that, and its engagement stats are a testament to how much value it represents to the smartphone-owning American shopper. Right now, the app may have only half as many users as eBay, Amazon and Groupon, but the company also hasn’t been around nearly as long. So, let’s give it some time and stay tuned to see how mobile retail unfolds.