Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Almost half of UK shoppers use retail apps as their primary way to shop 

Retail apps, once an alternative way to shop, have become an everyday essential for many, according to new research. 

In a survey of 1,000 UK shoppers, commissioned by mobile specialist Apadmi, nearly half of respondents (45.5%) named retail apps as their primary shopping channel. In contrast, the traditional in-store experience has diminished to an 11% preference rate, demonstrating the seismic shift towards digital. 

While retail apps have become a linchpin in the shopping experience for many consumers, a notable 71% of respondents believe that retail apps could be improved. Loyalty programmes are the most coveted feature of retail apps, with one in five (20%) respondents highlighting their importance. Shoppers seek more than just transactions from their retail apps; they seek a relationship that rewards their loyalty. This is followed closely by price comparison options (18%) and faster loading times (15%). 

Almost one in five (19%) respondents cite slow or non-responsive interfaces as their top frustration, highlighting the critical need for speed and efficiency in app design.  Equally concerning is that 19% of users are put off by low-quality or missing product imagery, reinforcing the importance of visual appeal and information in the online shopping experience. 

 16% of shoppers report abandoning apps with complicated payment and checkout processes, revealing a clear preference for simplicity and ease of use.

Apadmi’s report also unveils some interesting findings on the leaders of the pack in the retail space. Unsurprisingly, E-commerce giant Amazon sits comfortably at the top of retail app popularity in the UK, with a whopping 646 mentions. Its success is largely due to an unparalleled user experience, allied to  a vast selection of products, personalised recommendations, and a frictionless purchasing process. 

Commenting on the overall findings, Marcus Hadfield, Chief Strategy Officer at Apadmi said: “Retailers have an unprecedented opportunity to harness the power of digital platforms to connect with their customers in meaningful ways.The key to success lies in continuous improvement and adapting to consumer expectations with agility.”

The full Apadmi 2024 Retail App Report is available to download here.