Most Consumers Turn to Mobile Apps to Simplify Their Lives

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Mobile apps have become a preferred destination for consumers because there is a highly respected exchange of value between customers and brands. They provide simple, contextual interactions, faster transactions and streamlined experiences that elegantly span digital and physical worlds. In fact, customers with a brand’s app generate multiples in more revenue and have a higher likelihood of repeat purchases.

Recently, our team at Airship commissioned a global consumer survey in partnership with Sapio Research to better understand what motivates consumers to continue to use mobile apps, how they discover them and why and when they are likely to delete them. 

Apps Offer Convenience and Efficiency

We found that consumers today are turning to apps for convenience and efficiency. Overall, the top three reasons 11,000 global respondents use apps from their favorite brands are “ease of use” (35%), followed by “simplifies my life” (31%) and “saves me time” (27%). While the economic climate is challenging, and deals, rewards and targeted offers grew the most as opt-in motivators, the reasons consumers continue to use apps are increasingly about higher-level benefits: ease, speed and simplicity.

Searching and browsing app stores continues to be the top way people discover new apps to download. This holds true across household income levels, generations and the majority of countries. Search engines are the second most common app discovery method, followed by word of mouth (WOM). Personal recommendations are a key driver of app downloads in the U.K., France and Canada where consumers turn to WOM as much or more than the app stores. In the U.S., Germany and Singapore WOM is the second most common method of finding apps. 

Brands Must Quickly and Clearly Convey App’s Value to Customers

When asked why they delete apps, “freeing up phone storage” (32%) and “too many in-app ads” (30%) rose to the top. Alarmingly, “never used” (26%) was the third most common reason for deleting apps globally. In Canada, France and Germany, “never used” was the most common reason for app removal, and in the U.S., U.K. and Singapore, it ranked second. 

This data suggests that you must quickly and clearly convey the value of the app to your customers. Improving mobile app onboarding experiences are crucial to fostering app usage and optimizing retention. Additionally, establishing connections with customers outside of the app, such as through email or SMS, can help drive them back to your app.

First and second impressions are everything for new app customers. Most consumers (57%) only use an app once or twice before deciding to delete it or not. Furthermore, within the first two weeks of downloading a new app, 73% of consumers will decide if they’ll delete it, a behavior consistent across all countries, household income levels and generations. 

User acquisition is a critically important part of the app customer lifecycle, but if you can’t retain users and drive repeat usage, it means almost nothing. Brands must work to unify and optimize the entire mobile app customer lifecycle, from app features and discovery to campaigns outside the app and experiences inside the app.

You can check out more of our original research and resources to build the ultimate mobile app experience.

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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