Mobile Shoppers Prefer Speed 

Sessions are short and include a mix of apps

Author: Krista Garcia

February 16, 2018

The mobile path to purchase can be characterized as unfocused and fleeting, according to recent data from Verto Analytics

Its December 2017 survey of US digital shoppers found that the average mobile shopping session involves six different apps—including 1.5 shopping apps—and is relatively short: 80% were under 4 minutes.

The apps that take the largest share during a shopping session are a mix of social, search, texting and shopping. Facebook is visited in nearly 8% of sessions, while Amazon (4.9%), Google search (4.5%) and SMS messaging (4.5%) all have similar levels of use.

App usage doesn’t differ wildly between genders: Women spend 3.2 minutes per session compared with 3.0 minutes for men. But age does play a role. Millennials, for example, spend the least amount of time per session (2.6 minutes). By comparison, Gen Xers spend 3.4 minutes, baby boomers spend 4.3 minutes and those 75 and older spend just shy of 5 minutes.

Verto Analytics' findings are in line with a February 2018 study from Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware) that measured retail ecommerce visits of more than 500 million shoppers worldwide by device. In Q4 2017, mobile—though not apps specifically—had the shortest average visit duration (3.85 minutes) compared with tablets or computers. 

Meanwhile, a November 2017 survey of US smartphone users from Button and App Annie showed shopping app usage decreases with age. Millennial respondents prefer mobile shopping via apps (62%) as opposed to mobile web, while 44% of boomers prefer shopping by app. Many shopping apps offer the ability to save logins, personal details and payment info, which speeds up the buying process.  

Of those that preferred apps to mobile websites, 69% of respondents cited easier navigation as the leading reason. Other reasons included saved login details (61%), faster load times (57%) and payment info saved (54%). 

It appears that youth gravitates toward speed, both in their marked preference for apps as well in their shorter shopping sessions compared with older, more leisurely mobile users.