COVID-19 Venture

Shopper Engagement Up With Mobile E-commerce Apps, Report Finds

The cost to acquire a new shopper who completes a purchase is now at $19.47–half of what it was a year ago, according to the 2020 Mobile Shopping Apps Report. And engagement from the install-to-purchase rate is up by 40 percent year over year. 

The fourth mobile shopping apps report published by Liftoff, a mobile app marketing platform, includes 129 apps with 53 billion impressions, 558 million clicks (1 percent), 10 million installs (2 percent), and 2 million events (20 percent). For the report, Liftoff partnered with Adjust, a third-party provider of mobile measurement and fraud prevention services. 

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Retail customers of Liftoff include Wish, Amazon, Nike, Letgo, and Ibotta. Liftoff works with companies using paid user acquisition or engagement to grow their apps, including fintech, social and gaming apps.  

Overall, the retail industry has been impacted by the pandemic. 

eMarketer predicts the U.S. retail market will contract 10 percent in 2020. Online ecommerce–including mobile e-commerce–will reach 14.5 percent of total U.S. retail sales in 2020, an all-time high as stores are shuttered due to shelter in place. 

According to eMarketer, mobile e-commerce in the U.S. in 2020 will ring in at around $314 billion, representing 44 percent of total e-commerce, with strong year-over-year growth close to 26 percent. 

We talked with Mark Ellis, co-founder and CEO of Liftoff. Ellis credits part of this improvement to commerce apps heavily investing in user flow and the quality of their apps providing a better interface for transacting. Additionally, apps bettered their checkout experience with less friction and improved support for when things go wrong. 

“We are getting extra tailwinds because of COVID-19,” Ellis said. “We’ve ushered in a whole new set of users who are more comfortable leveraging mobile to transact on a whole cross section of categories of products and services.”

The report also cites varying trends in different markets. In Asia Pacific (APAC) costs for acquisition have gone up with lower engagement, citing shopping fatigue. North America is seeing the most improved cost for acquiring a user who purchases at $14.83, with install to purchase rates six times higher than APAC. 

AppAnnie is a mobile data and insights provider. Listed are leading shopping apps in the U.S. by absolute growth in monthly downloads from March through May compared with January. Instacart leads in March and April, then Walmart tops this list in May as COVID-19 hit the U.S. market. 

According to Ellis, “More people by default are using the mobile devices. It’s an easier experience that gets the fulfillment they’re looking for. And that success just breeds greater and greater default usage of those platforms. Hence why we’re seeing declining acquisition costs.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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