Flurry Declares: App & Mortar Economy 

February 04, 2013

Apps are a way of life from shopping to games and finding new places to see. 2012 was a year of astronomical growth, especially in retailer apps. 

Apps and mobile devices are becoming the new normal for a variety of tasks and activities, including shopping. According to IBM, more than 18 percent of shoppers used a smartphone or tablet to access a retailer's website Cyber Monday in 2012, a 70 percent increase over the previous year. Mobile made up 13 percent of total web-based purchases, the rise in smartphone shopping, and in a new report, Flurry is calling it the App & Mortar economy.

In the report, Flurry analyzed the amount of time spent by consumers across more than 1,800 shopping apps in December 2012, compared to December 2011. The time spent in Retailer Apps has skyrocketed by 525 percent. The growth far exceeds total shopping app growth of 274 percent, as well as overall app growth of 132 percent.

The biggest growth category was apps developed by retailers, such as Walmart, Macy’s and Gap. In contrast, online marketplaces, such as eBay and Amazon, increased by only (but still significant) 178 percent.

According to results from the 2013 National Grocers Association-SupermarketGuru Consumer Panel Survey, more people downloaded apps for food and drinks this year, but the growth rate slowed; already up to 21 percent of consumers, up from 19.6 percent in 2012 and just 11 percent in 2011, the pace could pick up with the development of better apps that consumers feel confident using.

The gain in share by retail apps came at the expense of online marketplace and daily deal apps, which according to Flurry, declined year over year. The share of time being spent with online marketplaces decreased from 25 percent in December 2011 to 20 percent in December 2012. Daily deal providers, like Groupon and LivingSocial, fell to 13 percent from 20 percent.

It’s time retailers step up their game in the app world as clearly apps are the direction in which the spending is going to continue to grow and take place. Streamlined, easy to use and straightforward apps are the future.