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Market Study: Mobile Customer Experience Issues Highlight Use Cases for iOS App Clips

Rahul Khosla

Author Rahul Khosla
Published On Feb 01, 2021

How is exploding app growth affecting consumer behavior?

The mobile app economy is expected to double by 2024 and reach a staggering $171 billion. That’s roughly the value of the entire McDonald’s Corporation.

Is your company looking to carve out a piece of that multi-billion-dollar pie?

With nearly 2 million apps available in Apple’s App Store and 30,000 more added every month, so is everyone else.

We wanted to know how the app economy’s exploding growth is affecting consumer behavior, so we surveyed smartphone users to find out.

Specifically, as more brands launch and promote their own mobile apps, we wanted to learn how users feel when they’re required to install unfamiliar apps to place an order, use a product or try a service, including:.

  • How do users react when required to install an unfamiliar app?
  • How likely were they to install the app?
  • How regularly do they delete apps?
  • Does deleting an app affect their opinion of a brand?

Our research uncovered 11 app statistics that highlight significant customer pain points with the current state of mobile transactions. Going forward, companies must find solutions to these pain points. Those that don’t risk suffering both decreased market share and irrelevance.

With iOS 14, Apple is giving businesses a solution: App Clips.

App Clips are small, lightweight portions of your full app that isolate a specific functionality and offer it to users as needed. They integrate seamlessly into tasks mobile users already are performing — such as browsing the web, searching for location-based recommendations or scanning visual tags — and offer businesses organic opportunities to step in and provide value.

If you’re trying to rise above the noise in today’s crowded mobile app landscape, App Clips are a no-brainer when used correctly to enable users to quickly complete their transactions and to show off your full app in a way that encourages users to willingly download it.

These 11 app statistics illustrate why.

01

Users generally discover new apps through either an app store search or digital ad

First, we wanted to get a baseline for how mobile phone users primarily discover the apps they install. The overwhelming majority reported they discover new apps through two digital means:

1. Searching their phone’s app store: 39.6%
2. Viewing a digital ad: 33.5%

01-Primary-Way-Discover-New-Phone-Apps

Another 21.6% discover apps by word of mouth, with those top three accounting for 91.7% of the ways users primarily discover the apps they install.

Given how hyper-competitive the App Store is and how expensive display ad campaigns can be (especially post-IDFA), businesses are on the lookout for the next great marketing channel they can leverage to increase brand awareness and generate new leads.

App Clips are that channel, allowing mobile users to discover your brand in the most natural way possible: Routine, everyday use.

App Clips are that channel and allow mobile users to discover your brand in the most natural way possible: routine, everyday use.
02

Men discover new apps by searching in their phone’s app store while women primarily use digital ads

49.7% of men report searching in their phone’s app store as the primary way they discover and install new apps while just 16% say they rely on word of mouth. Women don’t seem to have such strong tendencies and use both digital ads (36.7%) and word of mouth (25.6%) more than men.

02-Discovering-New-Apps-By-Gender

By aggregating “app store search” and “digital ads,” we find that men are 14.5% more likely to report discovering apps through this new “digital marketing” category (78.5% vs. 68.8%).

These results suggest that businesses with disproportionately male target audiences could see additional benefit by leveraging engaging App Clips for the applications to decrease reliance on the App Store and digital ads alone.

03

Users may get frustrated when businesses require installing an unfamiliar app to make a purchase

One way companies try to encourage app downloads is by making their app a required part of the checkout process. If customers don’t have the app installed already, they need to download and configure it before completing their purchase.

We get the reasoning behind this business decision. Apps are great for increasing customer lifetime value (LTV), average order value (AOV), and plenty more, so you want to make sure new users have a chance to check out your application during the purchasing process. 

The downside is that mobile users sometimes find this frustrating.

We asked users to rate their level of frustration with requiring the installation of an unfamiliar app from 1 (“Not at all frustrating”) to 5 (“Extremely frustrating”). 68.5% rated their frustration level at 4+ and 90.8% rated their frustration level at 3+.

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We also observed an interesting gender split. While men are 7.7% more likely to rate their frustration at either 4 or 5 (71.4% vs. 66.3%), women are 19.4% more likely to rate the maximum of 5 for “extremely frustrated” (43% vs. 36%).

Clips 04

Consumer reaction to being required to install an unfamiliar app when making a purchase creates a strong argument in favor of using iOS App Clips. By enabling users to get a taste of your app by engaging with an App Clip before they commit to downloading it, you can make their decision to download your full app feel like a choice they’re happy to make — rather than being frustrated that your business is “forcing” them to download something they don’t want on their phone.

04

Still, almost half of users say they'll likely install a required app

It’s important that we point out that, despite reports of frustration, 46.9% of users still say they’ll “definitely” or “usually” install a required app. Men (50.3%) are more likely than women (44.3%) to fall in that group.

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05

Some users even abandon transactions that require installing an app

77.9% of mobile phone users say the mandatory app installation roadblock caused them to abandon at least one transaction in the last year with no discernible differences between men and women.

However, there’s a strong trend when broken down by age. Younger users are progressively more likely to abandon transactions if required to install an app to make a purchase, complete a sale or try a service. Over 80% of users aged 18-34 reported abandoning at least one transaction in the last year because they had to install an app compared to around 76% of users aged 35-54 and 69.6% of users aged 55+.

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That’s a lot of lost business, and much of it’s likely to be new business because these lost customers haven’t installed the company’s mobile app yet.

Instead of letting new business slip away, why not try to gain new customer trust — and hopefully establish an ongoing relationship — with well-designed App Clips that make users want to download your full application?

 

App Clips are designed to eliminate transaction roadblocks and convert those lost transactions into repeat customers.
06

Nearly 1-in-3 customers saved at least $100 in the last year because companies made purchasing too difficult

The plurality of respondents (30.1%) estimated saving $20-$99 over the last year, but 30.3% estimated they saved at least $100 and 7.8% estimated they saved at least $500 — all because companies made the checkout process too difficult.

App Clips are designed to eliminate transaction roadblocks and convert those lost transactions into repeat customers.

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07

Active app store searchers are most likely to install an app to complete a purchase

A user’s likelihood of installing a required app varies by how they primarily discover new apps in the first place.

56.4% of active app store searchers say they’ll “definitely” or “usually” install an app if it’s required to complete a transaction. That’s 34.3% higher than users who primarily discover apps through digital ads and 56.7% higher than the word-of-mouth crowd.

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When used as a way to promote your full application, App Clips may offer an affordable solution for converting those who are first exposed to your app via digital ads and word of mouth.

08

Most users delete apps from their phone at least once per month

Thus far, we’ve seen that some users don’t like the feeling of being “forced” to install a mobile app that’s totally foreign to them in order to complete a transaction. We wanted to see how this feeling translates to how often users actually delete apps from their phone.

What we found is that 78.9% say they delete apps at least once per month, with 26.2% deleting apps at least once per week.

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09

Users who are more likely to install required apps also delete apps more frequently

We were curious whether a user’s willingness to download apps correlates with how likely they are to delete apps on a more regular, weekly basis.

33.2% of users who “definitely” or “usually” install required apps report they delete apps at least once per week. That’s 65.2% higher than all other users (20.3% and 19.7% for the unsure and unlikely crowds, respectively).

Percentage of user

 

Perhaps this increased willingness to install required apps results in more installed apps overall and an increased need to downsize their app inventory more regularly.

There are few discernible differences by age or gender, though users in the 55+ age group seem less likely to delete apps daily than other age groups.

10

Users don't always think less of businesses whose apps they delete

Does deleting an app from your phone signal negative sentiment about a business?

For the majority of users — almost 51% of men and over 70% of women — the answer is “No.”

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However, for the users who say that, yes, deleting a brand’s app makes them think less of that brand, this can have negative implications for brands that force customers to install apps without enabling users to preview them first using App Clips.

If a user installs your business’s app only to complete a transaction but then deletes your app later, there’s a chance they’ll associate this experience with your brand. According to Zendesk, customers react harshly to bad experiences:

  • 58% stop buying from your company
  • 52% switch to a different company for your product or service
  • 52% tell others not to buy your product or service

This is why App Clips are so important to include when asking users to download your full application.

App Clips offer the best of both worlds, allowing your business to capture the sale while providing a superior customer experience. What’s the value of that good experience according to Zendesk?

  • 54% purchase or use more products or services from your company
  • 67% recommend your company’s products or services to others

When 21.6% of users still rely on word of mouth as their primary means of discovering new apps, the impact of each positive or negative experience can be significant and far-reaching.

11

Users became more likely to install new apps in the second half of 2020

Daily routines have changed enormously over the last year with a substantial shift toward online and mobile business.

So it’s no surprise that 44.9% of the users we surveyed in early 2021 said they were more likely to install new apps over the last six months compared to the previous six months. Just 23.5% said they were less likely, for a net increase of +21.4 percentage points.

Once again, there’s a noticeable divide between men and women:

  • 48% of men have been more likely to install new apps while 19.4% have been less likely (+28.6)
  • 42.6% of women have been more likely to install new apps while 26.6% have been less likely (+16)

There’s also a strong divide by a user’s primary means of discovering new apps:

  • Searching the app store: Both men (+35.7) and women (+36.2) have been much more likely to install new apps.
  • Display ads: Both men (+33.3) and women (+22.5) have been much more likely to install new apps, with men having a slight edge.
  • Word of mouth:Both men (-3) and women (-10) have been less likely to install new apps, with women having a slight edge.

Overall, 44.9% of users have been more likely to install new apps over the last six months, while 23.5% have been less likely for a net increase of +21.4 percentage points.

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Considering the growing willingness of users to install new applications to their phones, 2021 is an ideal time for businesses to invest in App Clips that will increase the likelihood that users will find, install, and enjoy using their full apps.

The Take-Home Message: Apps + Clips Are the Way Forward

Let’s recap what the data tells us about the current mobile app-related purchasing experience:

  • 68.5% of mobile phone users are moderately or extremely frustrated when they’re required to install an app to complete a transaction.
  • 77.9% report abandoning a transaction because they didn’t want to install a required app.
  • 30.3% say they’ve saved at least $100 in the last year by abandoning these transactions, with 7.8% saving at least $500.
  • Users who are more likely to install a required app are also more likely to downsize their app inventory regularly — which could result in them deleting your app.
  • The good news is the majority of users say deleting an app from their phone doesn’t engender negative sentiment toward a business and the willingness to download new apps seems to be on the rise.

These app statistics highlight several key pain points for businesses when it comes to mobile applications:

  1. Some consumers may be frustrated if you require they install your app before they even have a chance to get familiar with your business.
  2. That means you may be losing value on abandoned transactions resulting from required app downloads.
  3. Still, user demand for mobile apps is increasing.

Add all that up, and there’s an obvious and growing reservoir of unmet demand waiting to be tapped by businesses that can create seamless online purchasing experiences that facilitate instead of frustrate.

With the introduction of App Clips in iOS 14, Apple is giving businesses a way to do just that by enabling organic, frustration-free, app-powered checkout processes. Now, businesses can embed select portions of their full mobile app’s functionality for customers to interact with natively without requiring installation.

App Clips address all three of the above pain points:

  1. With App Clips, customers aren’t required to install your app to complete their transaction, but they will still have the chance to interact with key elements of your application. 
  2. Your business will capture more sales. 
  3. Customers will be able to get to know your business and your app before they have to commit to downloading it — making it more likely that they’ll keep and continue to enjoy using your full app for future transactions.

In a world where your app alone is no longer enough to differentiate your brand from its competitors, iOS App Clips present a high-impact way to increase mobile app downloads, build positive brand sentiment and increase customer engagement by leveraging the functionality currently built into your mobile app.

And for businesses that don’t have a mobile app but want to take advantage of App Clips to create a customer-centric experience, now is the perfect time to design, build and launch an app with App Clips in mind.

Are you ready to give your customers the hassle-free mobile experience they’re begging for?

Download our free eBook with step-by-step instructions for implementing App Clips for your business plus real-life examples of App Clips in action. Become an early adopter and leave your competitors behind by making App Clips a part of your mobile strategy, today.

* Article updated on February 22, 2021

Market Study: App Clips

Ready to Meet Your Customers Where They Are At?

Download our free eBook with step-by-step instructions for implementing App Clips for your brand plus real-life examples of App Clips in action.

app-clips_1
app-clips_2

Ready to Meet Your Customers Where They Are At?

Download our free eBook with step-by-step instructions for implementing App Clips for your brand plus real-life examples of App Clips in action.

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