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, 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.