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Look out E-commerce, Indian online shoppers love apps, but mobile sites still matter


Vserv online shopping Mobile apps and sites featuredEvery shopping season, we find ads everywhere, be it newspapers or television, offering huge discounts for online shoppers, especially those who are shopping via mobile apps. While some will argue that this is to push more people to shop via apps, the reality is that when it comes to online shopping in India, more consumers are preferring to shop via apps instead of desktop websites. However, mobile websites by themselves have also shown a promising increase in consumer preference to shop online.

According to a January 2016 survey, 42% of online shoppers in India prefer to shop on mobile apps as compared to 39% on desktops. However, consumer preference to shop via mobile websites has jumped from 5% in 2014 to 19% in 2015.

This could be because many E-commerce companies have optimized their mobile website experience to suit consumers who would not prefer to download an app because of constraints such as smaller storage.

Conversely, findings also suggest that nearly 80% of online shoppers shopping via smartphones felt that the app experience trumps the mobile website experience when it comes to response time and convenience. Though there could be several optimization factors at play, consumers felt that shopping apps tend to start up faster. A single click on an app that immediately fires up the whole shopping experience was preferred more to the tedious process of starting the mobile browser and navigating to the E-commerce mobile website of choice.

For most consumers shopping via mobile apps, the user interface was much more fluid when it came to navigating through the app, discovering a product and product descriptions. This is because most of the apps have effectively leveraged the underlying system APIs for a performance advantage. However, when it comes to prices of products across different E-commerce brands, consumers prefer the mobile browser over apps as it lets them efficiently switch between mobile websites of various E-commerce brands.

What this means for E-commerce companies and marketers pushing mobile app downloads is that their efforts will still be well received by Indian online shoppers. They will need to continue to focus on delivering a seamless online shopping experience via these apps so that the consumers that download these apps continue to use them.

It is also critical to not lose sight of those online shoppers who prefer mobile websites as their numbers are steadily growing as well. E-commerce majors such as Flipkart and Myntra have already gone back from an app-only experience to offering apps and highly optimized mobile website experiences.

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