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Mobile traffic app vs. site development

By Retail Technology | Tuesday November 5 2013

New analytics report highlights a growing level of maturity around m-commerce through website optimisation and app development

Mobile-optimised websites re just edging out purpose-built mobile apps when it comes to m-commerce consumer preferences, according to the Citrix ByteMobile Mobile Analytics Report for the fourth quarter of 2013 released today.

The report anonymously sourced its statistics by analysing mobile network data traffic from a global cross-section of network operator clients using Citrix ByteMobile's mobile network capacity management systems. 

The data was split out by the percentage of mobile traffic to a number of different retailers' websites and the percentage using their equivalent apps during the sample period. It found that some mobile users used both the website and the app, where mobile websites generally emerged as slightly more popular.

Mobile sites edge out apps

For example, more visitors to Amazon used its website (63%) than the 41% that used its app. A further 71% of subscribers used Groupon's website compared to 33% using the app.

By contrast, the use of apps exceeded website usage for eBay and Fandango, for example. Almost two thirds (65%) of mobile traffic analysed during the last quarter used eBay's app, compared with 52% to its website.

And, for the group of subscribers accessing Fandango, app traffic exceeded that of its website, with 78% of subscribers using the app and 32% using the website.

Anna Yong, senior manager of product marketing in the service provider platforms division of Citrix, told Retail Technology why apps tended to be less popular than mobile retail sites.
“This is an artefact of behaviour," she said. "Many mobile retail subscribers are simply doing a web search for a product, which doesn’t require using an app. Additionally retail subscribers often check prices online, or look up product reviews, neither of which require using an app.”

Tech follows shopping trends
Pointing to eBay, Yong said the popularity of its app over its website comes down to the nature of the marketplace. "eBay’s business is primarily predicated on bidding, which involves notifications and alerts for every item when it is outbid, won or sold," she explained. "The competitive nature of the bidding generates a need for easy, constant access from anywhere, which demands mobile network access and is best fulfilled with a mobile app." 
Yong also suggested that the more complex the e-commerce search and transactional processes are, the more likely consumers are to use apps to shop on their mobile devices. 

"As for buying a car on Auto Trader, it is a complex process that generally entails frequent visits to the Auto Trader site while on the go," Yong said. "This means people are looking for an easy way to navigate the site and the app provides this as well as functionality like enabling you to click to call sellers directly and find dealers near your location.  

"This contrasts with retailers like Argos and Amazon, which people use for more traditional browsing and shopping, and which is often a simpler process. So the in-app experience may not differ much from using the website,” she concluded.

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