Brand and retailer apps will play a much larger role in holiday shopping this year—and you can bet that communicators will be on the hook to make sure their company and client app developers have their platforms ready to perform. New research from mobile app experience company Airship and survey partner Sapio Research sheds light on changing consumer behaviors and preferences for the crucial holiday shopping season.
Globally, 48 percent of respondents expect to do three-quarters or more of their holiday shopping online, and a nearly equal percent (47 percent) say that three-quarters or more of their online shopping will be done using smartphones rather than desktops. Among respondents saying 100 percent of their holiday shopping will be online, the U.K. comes in on top at 20 percent, followed by India (18 percent) and then the U.S. (16 percent). The generational spread for this online-only audience is not wide, though differences emerge examining those that say 100 percent of their shopping will be done in-store.
When asked about eight different activities one might use their smartphone to accomplish while shopping in-store, more than half of respondents in every country surveyed said they’d be likely to do that. Germany was the one exception for only one activity “Scan QR codes or smart shelf tags for more information, special incentives or to join loyalty/text club”—where only 42 percent said they’d be likely to do that. On the same token, Germans are just as likely to open the retailer’s app as their website when shopping in-store. Singapore and India over-index on all of these in-store digital activities.
Generationally, millennials lead in likelihood to perform all of these in-store digital activities.
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 people having to first download them from the App Store or Google Play. Indeed, 81 percent of millennials have used retail apps more or about the same since the pandemic began, followed by 77 percent of Gen X, 74 percent of Gen Z and 66 percent of baby boomers.
“Consumers are clearly developing a preference for mobile apps as the primary destination to save them time and streamline their shopping experiences from in-store wayfinding to click-and-collect and curbside pickup,” said Brett Caine, CEO and president of Airship, in a news release. “For retailers, apps offer better opportunities to truly understand their customers and form stronger direct relationships, as it’s much easier to tie together their digital and physical activities and engage them throughout their journey with the brand.”
The survey was conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of Airship in September 2021. Respondents included 9,143 consumers in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Australia, Singapore and India who were asked a number of questions on their plans for online and physical retail shopping during the 2021 holiday season.