Studies Show Search Apps More Popular Than Retail Apps

Usage of mobile apps for mobile search far outweighs mobile app offerings by merchants, according to a pair of studies released in July.

A survey by multichannel platform provider CrossView shows that just 12% of large retailers offer mobile apps to their customers. Meanwhile, a study by digital measurement company ComScore shows consumers are big on using mobile apps for local search.

According to the CrossView survey of 25 retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch, PetSmart, J. Crew and FootLocker, just 12% offer iPhone or Android mobile apps. But all the merchants in the survey offer an mcommerce site, while 28% allow customers to purchase products online via the mobile website and pick them up in store. Nearly 90% (88%) of retail mobile websites have features that allow consumers to share via Facebook or Twitter or to email a friend.

But a majority of the mobile optimized websites CrossView reviewed lacked basic features to help shoppers make purchase decisions in physical retail stores.

“Mobile must be integrated as a part of the overall cross-channel shopping experience,” said Jason Goldberg, CrossView’s vice president – strategy and customer experience, in a statement. “It’s critical that merchants avoid creating mobile silos in the same the way many brick-and-mortar retailers did with their first generation ecommerce sites.”

Meanwhile, ComScore’s The State of Local Search study, released by the Local Search Association, shows that there was big growth in mobile local search use in 2010. This past January, 77.1 million mobile subscribers accessed local content on a mobile device—up 34% from the previous year.

Local content users accounted for 33% of mobile subscribers, with 87% owning a GPS-capable handset, which is up 9% from the previous year. App use for mobile local content grew 34%, with 56% of respondents using apps for local content.