Saving every penny: shoppers turning to mobile apps for deals and rewards

Study indicates increasing popularity of in-store use of retailers’ mobile apps as consumers look to get bang for their buck with offers and reward schemes.

Over three quarters (78%) of consumers regularly use retailers’ mobile apps to streamline their shopping experiences and save money, research finds.

Mobile app experience company Airship has released a new global consumer research report detailing the ins and outs of consumer behaviours and preferences towards retailers’ mobile apps.

Of the 11,000 consumers surveyed from ten countries, 78% were found to be using retailer’s mobile apps either more often or around the same as in 2022. This affinity for apps extends across different age groups and household income levels with slight differences between generations.

Consistent popularity among age groups and income levels

Retail app use is most popular among millennials and gen x, with use having grown or remained the same for 81% and 79% respectively. Interestingly, both gen z and baby boomers reported the same levels of retail mobile app popularity at 72%.

There was also only a slight disparity in use of retail apps among different household income groups, with high incomes households leading the way at 82%, followed by medium and low income households at 79% and 75% respectively.

In terms of growth in activities where shoppers might use their smartphone, using a retailer’s app while shopping in-store had the most year-on-year growth. Globally, almost three quarters of respondents (74%) said they are likely to use a brand’s app when shopping within a physical storefront - but why?

Deals and loyalty rewards pivotal to retail apps’ success

Apps themselves have begun competing with retailer’s websites in terms of popularity, with the likelihood of using a retailer’s app while shopping in-store only a few percentage points behind visiting a retailer’s website. This is despite first having to download apps from the App Store or Google Play, indicating that more people are happy to download an app to their device and create a regular visual presence of a brand or retailer within their mobile.

When consumers were asked what motivates them to opt in and receive brand communications on their smartphone, discounts, loyalty rewards and offers personalised to browsing behaviours, past purchases and current location saw big gains in terms of year-on-year popularity.

This represents an opportunity for retail marketers to optimise their apps to best capitalise on mobile’s inherent advantage to reach people whenever and wherever they are - should notifications be enabled.

Encouraging consumers to switch ‘notifications on’ for more deals as inflation bites

Something to note in terms of encouraging consumers to allow notifications of an app on their mobile is the data suggests that inflation and the current economy is driving consumers to be more deal-motivated in their purchasing behaviour. Demonstrating an opportunity for retailers to enhance their mobile app engagement by prioritising the advertisement of valuable offers and convenient experiences.

Thomas Butta, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Airship, said: “Today’s consumers are increasingly turning to mobile apps from their favourite retailers to score deals, gain special access and improve their overall customer experience, particularly while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.

“As marketing budgets are pinched and consumers face economic pressures, retailers need greater agility to create and optimise valuable app experiences that grow customer understanding and reward them individually, making life easier and better for everyone involved.”