Consumers Turn to Retailers’ Mobile Apps to Streamline In-Store Shopping Experiences and Score Personalized Offers and Deals


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Retailers everywhere are in the trenches of the most important quarter of the year. As holiday shopping kicks into high gear and consumer spending surges, retailers are hard at work to capture consumer spending. And this year, one thing is certain: more consumers are turning to their smartphones for a better shopping experience and personalized offers and deals. 

Our team at Airship partnered with Sapio Research earlier this year to survey 11,000 consumers across 10 different countries in an effort to better understand their behaviors and preferences for mobile apps from retailers. 

The research showed that 78% of consumers are using retailers’ mobile apps either more often or about the same as last year. This preference for retail apps extends across age groups and household income levels. Generationally, 81% of millennials and 79% of Gen X report using retail apps more or about the same as last year, followed by 72% of both Gen Z and boomers. High household incomes lead in regular use of retail apps at 82%, followed by 79% of medium and 75% of low income levels.

When we asked about the 10 different activities one might use their smartphone to accomplish while shopping in-store, using the retailer’s app grew the most year over year. Globally, 74% of respondents said they are likely to use the brand’s app when shopping at its physical storefronts.

For most countries and generations, the likelihood of using a retailer’s app while shopping in-store is only a few percentage points behind visiting the retailer’s website despite first having to download apps from the App Store or Google Play.

Mobile apps have an inherent advantage to reach people wherever they are at the exact moment it matters most, as notifications are served up on their smartphone lock screens. When we asked consumers what motivates them to opt in to receive brand communications on their smartphone, discounts, loyalty rewards and offers personalized to browsing behaviors, past purchases and current location saw the biggest gains over the prior year. The data suggests that inflation and the current economy is driving more deal-motivated behaviors from consumers. It also demonstrates an opportunity for retailers to expand customer understanding as shoppers are more motivated to share personal information in exchange for valuable offers and convenient experiences that better meet their needs.

There is no doubt that shoppers are going to be turning to mobile apps from their favorite retailers to score deals, gain special access and improve their overall customer experience, particularly while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. And during the holiday season, these behaviors are especially pronounced as consumers look to snag the best deals to make their budget stretch even further. 

As retailers look to make the most of peak season, they willll need greater agility to create and optimize valuable mobile app experiences that grow customer understanding and reward them individually to deliver on the most wonderful time of the year.

If you’re interested in more insights on how consumers are using mobile apps to make life better, you can download our in-depth report: “The Mobile Consumer 2023.”

Daniel Nguyen
Daniel Nguyen is Vice President and General Manager of Customer Success at mobile app experience company Airship. In his role, he helps brands like Alaska Airlines, SXSW and Ace Hardware optimize the entire mobile app customer journey – from the point of discovery to loyalty – driving greater value for everyone involved. Daniel is skilled in building innovative customer success deployments, processes and teams to drive exceptional service. He’s held numerous leadership positions throughout his career in retail, travel, hospitality, marketing technology and business startups.


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