Mobile Shoppers Use Retailers' Web Sites, Not Necessarily Apps

Smartphone users are more likely to shop on retailers' mobile Web sites than their apps, according to a new study that could impact retailers' holiday e-commerce strategies.

The NPD Group study that found three-quarters of smartphone owners are using mobile devices as part of their overall shopping experience. Within that population, 71 percent are going to retailer sites, while 57 percent are using those retailers' apps to shop.

Retail apps are not typically part of consumers' day-to-day shopping habits, so they tend to be used less frequently, Eddie Hold, vice president of NPD's Connected Intelligence service, told MediaPost. "Right now, engagement is low, meaning the app is clearly an experiment that is quickly dropped by most consumers," Hold said.

Another important finding of the NPD Group study was that – despite the growth of showrooming – many consumers are still shopping from their mobile devices at home. 94 percent of smartphone users shop via their smartphones while at home, while around a third do so in physical stores. That finding indicates people are using smartphones as an alternative device for online shopping, rather than as a showrooming tool, according to Hold.

At the same time, "The reality is, if you have a consumer in your retail store, you still have the home field advantage," Hold said.

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