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On the Econsultancy blog, we have previously debated the mobile site vs. app conundrum. However, we haven't done it in the context of considered purchases.

So, is this a good idea? I've explored some data that may help to answer that question...

In a survey conducted by Econsultancy in 2012, the majority of consumers were found to prefer using a mobile website over a mobile app, although other studies have found the opposite.

Do you prefer to use a mobile website or an app?

The other fact to consider is that consumers typically use multiple devices on their purchasing journeys. Therefore an app may not be appropriate where consumers switch frequently between devices.

The following graphic illustrates how journeys started on one device often end on another:

Apps that work well for considered purchases are typically those with a visually immersive experience. One example is DFS

Travel is another considered purchase. This represents a big spend for most people, and they will naturally spend time researching locations and hotels, as well as comparing prices between different providers. 

indeed, 48% research travel purchases on mobile and 49% on tablets, compared with 55% on desktop. 

While fewer will actually complete the purchase on mobile. Just 27% completed purchase on smartphone and 39% on tablets. Still a significant amount. 

The report also shows that consumers aren’t afraid of making big travel purchases on mobile.

44% of respondents stated that they were willing to spend more than $500 on travel-related purchases using their smartphone or tablet. At the other end of the scale, only 13% of consumers said they wouldn’t make a travel purchase using their mobile device.

How much are you willing to spend on travel when making a purchase with your smartphone or tablet?

Before choosing to use an app for a sales and marketing channel, the key questions should be asked:

  • What devices do our target audience use? How do they behave on these devices?
  • How frequently will customers be interacting with our website or app? Is it worth spending money on multiple apps or should we just have a mobile site?
  • What tasks are they frequently trying to accomplish?
  • Do we have development resource in place to update the app continuously and make improvements as required?
Andrew Warren-Payne

Published 21 November, 2013 by Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne is a Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or Google+

55 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

Mike Hann

Mike Hann, Director at Poq Studio

Nice article.

An important addition to the key questions would be the amount of repeat purchasers a retailer gets. ie: An app makes a lot more sense for most clothing retailers rather than businesses that offer less frequent purchases such as white goods.

about 3 years ago

Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne, Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy

Good point Mike. Thanks for the comment!

about 3 years ago

Mike Hann

Mike Hann, Director at Poq Studio

No problem Andrew.

We also posted this on our blog today which is fitting: http://poqstudio.com/2013/11/customer-loyalty-on-mobile-apps-and-mobile-sites-a-comparison-statistics/

about 3 years ago

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