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Mobile Apps Not Finding Favor with Consumers

mobile-app-art-11101102   / Credit: Dreamstime.com

You might want to think twice before you rush out to develop a mobile app for your business or brand. New research shows that consumers, by an overwhelming majority, would rather browse and buy from websites via PCs or laptops rather than use a mobile app.

A survey of 1,500 consumers who own a computer, smartphone and/or tablet, conducted on behalf of Zmags, a rich-media merchandising platform, showed that 87 percent of consumers prefer to browse and buy from websites via PCs or laptops. Fourteen percent prefer to shop at mobile websites on their smartphones and 9 percent with their tablets.

Despite all the attention branded apps received last year, consumers do not like shopping via branded smartphone or tablet apps, the survey showed. Only 4 percent prefer to use smartphone or tablet apps as their preferred platform.

Not surprisingly, the survey also showed that tablet use and spending is on the rise. Nearly nine out of 10 (87 percent) of tablet owners used these devices for their 2011 holiday shopping and spent an average of $325 with their tablets. Additionally, more than half of tablet owners browse or shop from their tablets at least weekly.

While tablet shopping is gaining traction across many retail categories, consumers are now starting to show category-specific device preferences, the survey found. For example, shoppers preferring to use a tablet runs to 53 percent for electronics, followed by toys (39 percent), clothing (37 percent) and travel (26 percent).

"The study clearly demonstrates that mobile and tablet apps, on their own, are just not meeting connected consumers' browsing and purchasing needs in an increasingly complex retail landscape—and  that browser-based commerce is their preference," said W. Sean Ford, COO and CMO of Zmags. "For retailers and brands, there is enormous opportunity to capitalize on this complexity by designing engaging and consistent browser-based shopping experiences optimized for each device."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.