eMarketer: Mobile Users Overwhelming Prefer Mobile Web Over Mobile Apps

Even though mobile apps seem to get all the attention these days, consumer sentiment towards the debate between apps vs. the mobile Web show preference for the latter, …

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Even though mobile apps seem to get all the attention these days, consumer sentiment towards the debate between apps vs. the mobile Web show preference for the latter, in a big way.

eMarketer came out with data yesterday detailing a poll by Keynote Systems for Adobe that shows overwhelming consumer preference for mobile browsers to access virtually all mobile content.  Games, music and social media were the only categories in which users would rather use a downloaded app than browse the mobile Web.

The retail category in particular shows an overwhelming preference for mobile Web access across nearly all mobile shopping tasks mentioned.  Whether it was researching product and price info or sharing that information socially, mobile users would rather fire up a browser than a dedicated app.  Interestingly, When the Adobe survey asked about a preference for using regular or mobile-optimized websites on their mobile device, they preferred regular sites in both the consumer products-shopping and media-entertainment categories.

According to the report, this preference suggests “a low awareness of optimized experiences for the mobile web,” but users could also be frustrated with the limited functionality many mobile-optimized sites provide.  These results fall in line with most marketers in the retail space who say mobile apps don’t make sense for brand retailers.  For example, during his keynote at the Mobile Shopping Summit in New York recently, a Kenneth Cole executive said that — especially with the rise of HTML5 — his company’s focus is on the mobile Web going forward.

“Looking at the mobile sites of mass merchants, look-up sites and brand retailers, they are all using different design templates and tactics to get their message across,” said Tom Davis, vice president of ecommerce at Kenneth Cole Productions.  “This year we put our toe in the water, but we expect sales driven by mobile devices to be bigger than some of our bricks-and-mortar stores.

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6 comments

  1.    Reply

    […] services. Research shows that most users, in fact, prefer mobile websites over mobile apps (Adobe, eMarketer, InsightExpress), and that more people use mobile websites than […]

  2.    Reply

    […] services. Research shows that most users, in fact, prefer mobile websites over mobile apps (Adobe, eMarketer, InsightExpress), and that more people use mobile websites than […]

  3.    Reply

    "users could be frustrated with the limited functionality mobile sites provide".

    And how. In our experience, the one-trick app that just lets you order pizza from one retail chain is the bane of the mobile user's existence. All those single function, siloed apps present an overload experience after you've downloaded your first few dozen.

    Better practice: let the geosynchronous phone app discover relevant local search results when you browse for info. Let there be a "mobile version" tag in the upper left corner of each destination site's home page. Let the user store their favorites in folders.

    That's what we recommend and it seems to work nicely. Any takers? http://tourist.qvew.net

  4.    Reply

    A very interesting report. There is no reason a brand shouldn't have both a mobilized website and a mobile app, however it's important to keep in mind what kind of value each option will provide for your end user. A good rule of thumb when making a decision on "how" to go mobile is to look at your online analytics and if there's at least 10-15% mobile browser traffic, then it's time to create a mobile version of your site. This can be a god first step towards a mobile strategy.

  5.    Reply

    There really shouldn't be a "mobile web vs. the app" battle going on here – the web is the web and mobile is just another platform you need to support. Mobile applications serve a specific purpose and it isn't the same as the "mobile web" and I'm not really sure why everyone feels compelled to lump both of them into the same category.

    Also, isn't a browser on a smartphone actually an app? :)

  6.    Reply

    "…preference for mobile browsers to access virtually all mobile content."

    Except for games, music, or social?? Games, music, and social where most time is spent on mobile devices. Blogs, news, sports scores are predominantly web page based, why would you use an app for them? An app to read a blog webpage? And web based video? I'm calling bs on that one too. This sounds like adobe paid for the results they wanted.