It should come as no surprise that the 2020 coronavirus pandemic accelerated the adoption of app technology by 2 to 3 years – changing worldwide consumer behaviour on mobile forever. During the lockdown people spent 4.2 daily hours on mobile,  surpassing live TV for the first time in history. From gaming to shopping, video conferencing or payments, mobile has taken centre stage in our lives — ingraining new mobile app habits and permanently shifting the consumer landscape to a mobile-first world. Today we will focus on shopping apps, and how crucial they have become for engaging customers and growing your business.

Lockdown and Online Shopping

COVID = Lockdown and retail apps are some of the biggest winners of the year in the mobile landscape. Mobile commerce thrived, with 79% of mobile users making an online purchase using their mobile phones. This shift has been long coming by consumers preferring to shop directly from their smartphone apps instead of visiting a physical shop. A good example is Chinese online shopping platform SHEIN, registering an astounding global growth of 5525% in Brazil, 550% in Canada and France, 490% in the UK and 440% in Australia. In return the fashion brand is expecting sales of $10billion plus by the end of 2020. However, it is worth noting that the growth in terms of the time spent in retail apps for brick and mortar stores like Walmart in the US, Zara in Argentina and supermarket Woolworths in Australia has also been significant across the world.

In terms of sectors, retail was not the only one to benefit. According to eMarketer, some verticals have seen greater uplifts like digital personal care and beauty spending (up 32.4%) and digital food/beverage sales (up 58.5%). 

“…in the week from 8 November to 15 November 2020, consumers worldwide spent 2.3 billion hours in mobile shopping apps on Android phones, during the world’s largest e-Commerce shopping event; the 11. 11 Global Shopping Festival.”


AND the winner is… Mobile Commerce

When it comes to online shopping, research shows that 85% of consumers prefer to shop using a mobile app to a mobile website. Of the 4.2 hours per day we spend on our mobile devices, we spend 7x more time in native apps than web browsers, making mobile apps powerful drivers of customer loyalty by:

  • Increasing engagement with your brand: Oftentimes when customers move from web to an app, they can purchase more frequently.
  • Converting at a higher rate by reducing barriers to purchase: The fewer the taps the higher the conversion. A user who regularly orders on a mobile website is a great indicator of loyalty and a solid target for an app install campaign.


What’s next: Mobile Retail Trends in 2021

A number of innovations have started to emerge in the mobil retail app space. Social commerce derived from Instagram or Pinterest, and livestream commerce offered by Amazon, YouTube, Facebook or TaoBao Live in China are two at the forefront of what’s to come in the retail app space.

According to App analytics and App market data expert App Annie, “While outside of China the industry is still in its early stages, we believe social commerce and live shopping will continue to show impressive growth — representing a $2 trillion market globally by 2024.”

Credits: This analysis was produced with the help of App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 report.