Mobile apps are most common among big stores

93% of stores with >200m visitors have an app – the smaller the store, the less likely it has an app

Online shopping as a fully integrated activity within a busy schedule has become a natural business for many digital consumers. It is no wonder, thus, that smartphones and other portable devices have long outpaced laptops and computers as the most frequently used devices to shop online. According to the Statista Global Consumer Survey, two in three U.S. online shoppers used smartphones to purchase from online stores in 2020, while only around half shopped on their laptops, and even less – about one third – used a desktop PC. German respondents used laptops a little more frequently than U.S. online shoppers in 2020, but the smartphone is also the most common device for online shopping in Germany with a usage of 57%. Other EU countries like Spain or Italy show similar trends. When shopping online on a mobile device, a proprietary mobile app is possibly the most convenient way for consumers to access their favorite online store. In their 2021 European E-commerce Report, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences & Ecommerce Europe have analyzed the leading online stores in the European Union to find out more about the usage of mobile apps.

In general, around half of all online stores analyzed (47%) have one or more shopping apps, according to the report. Most online stores have both an Apple (46%) and an Android app (45%). Only 1% of the stores analyzed run a Huawei app. When taking a closer look, it turns out that there are significant differences between online stores of different sizes regarding the usage of mobile shopping apps. The bigger an online store is in terms visitor numbers per year, the more likely it is to have one or more mobile apps. Only 12% of the analyzed online stores with annual visitor numbers below 500,000 run a mobile app in 2021. The share increases almost continually with the number of visitors to a store, up to a mobile app penetration of 93% among stores with 200 million visitors per year or more. The report also identified great differences in the mobile app penetration between different store categories. Online stores that sell groceries, beverages, or pet supplies are most likely to offer a mobile app (72%). With 65%, the mobile app penetration is also quite high among fashion, shoe & accessories online stores, while categories like home & garden or Bicycles & (car) accessories reach mobile app penetration rates between 20% and 30%. Providing a mobile application is not least also a question of cost. This might be one of the reasons why smaller stores do not have their own app (yet). With growing visitor numbers, the financial possibilities of an online store often rise as well, and the programming of a proprietary app becomes more feasible.

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November 2021

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