E-commerce right in the palm of your hand: shopping app usage time up 49% in 2021's Q2

The future of retail is no longer just e-commerce, but also a good mobile app, shows a new report from App Annie, Liftoff and Poq

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Research on e-commerce has shown a historic increase in the use of mobile shopping apps during the pandemic, and better performance of the Android (Google’s) operating system compared to iOS (Apple’s). The report was prepared by Liftoff, a performance-focused app optimization platform, in partnership with App Annie and Poq, a mobile app platform, and took into account more than 95 billion ad impressions and 1.1 billion clicks between June 2020 and June 2021.

Globally, the report finds that mobile users have spent 49% more time on these apps since January 2020, reaching nearly 18 million hours per week in April 2021. Regionally, the APAC (Asia-Pacific) region had the most significant growth in time spent in-app (54%), followed by the Americas (40%) and Europe and the Middle East (38%). Brazil appears as the fifth country that most uses shopping apps, behind India, Indonesia, the United States, and Russia.

READ ALSO: Singapore’s Shopee changes the game in Brazil’s e-commerce sector

That e-commerce was boosted in the last year and a half due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic, is not exactly news. The survey, however, shows that shopping apps and cell phones have consolidated as consumers’ favorite platforms and devices when it comes to “shopping”.

Digital-first retail experiences drive more engagement, and originally digital companies dominate the list of most-visited shopping apps, taking 13 of the top 20 positions. Among them are the Chinese Shein, to Shopee, from Singapore, and the Brazilians Enjoei,, from Via group, and Lojas Renner – all apps that have Brazil as their main market.

Even with the easing of pandemic restrictions, purchases made by cell phone apps continued to increase. The analysis showed a 30.1% increase in purchase rates from January 2021 to May 2021. The average ticket for purchases also increased, rising from $74 in January to $88 in June 2021.

READ ALSO: Brazilians lead shift to e-commerce amid pandemic, says global consumer behavior survey

For Mark Ellis, confounder and CEO of Liftoff, the mobile shopping trend is irreversible. “Our analysis over the past five years has shown a strong and continuing trend of consumers rushing to these platforms and shaping new shopping habits. We live in an era that will be defined by massive adoption of new technologies and shopping apps are benefiting from this.”

Android becomes the leading mobile retail platform

The survey also showed that users of Google‘s Android mobile operating system were more engaged with shopping apps than Apple‘s iOS users. In May 2021 only, they spent a total of 2 billion hours per week on these apps.

READ ALSO: Nuvemshop: Brazil’s SMEs generate more than BRL 1 billion in e-commerce in the first half of the year

According to the report, Android does better than iOS in both cost and conversion performance. The CPA (cost per acquisition) for a user making a purchase on iOS is almost twice as expensive as on Android ($33.99 versus $12.88). In addition, Android apps have a higher conversion rate, with an install rate that results in actions of 16.5% versus 11.3% for iOS.

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