Users Prefer Native Apps Over Mobile-optimized Sites, Study Reveals

Adobe recently released its annual study examining mobile consumers’ habits in Canada and around the world.

According to The 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey, Android smartphones are the most popular by ownership across all age groups: 59% for young, 60% for middle, and 54% for older users. iPads are the most popular with young (27%) and middle-aged (31%) groups. The Kindle Fire is the leader with the older age group (22%).

Interestingly, even though experts suggest that mobile-optimized sites are more important than building native apps, Adobe’s respondents suggest otherwise. Given the choice between websites or apps for accessing media content on a mobile device, 42% reported preferring a mobile app, followed by a regular website at 38%, and mobile-optimized website at 20%.

But perhaps a bigger problem for companies is the fact that these users don’t really pay for mobile access. 70% of respondents don’t pay to access content on their mobile devices and only 22% said they paid for access to games, 8% for news, and 7% for video.

“The survey revealed that consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to connect with brands across a variety of categories through websites, mobile-optimized websites, and mobile apps,” says Adobe. “Not only do companies today need to understand how consumers are connecting with them, but they also need to gain better insight into who those consumers are. For example, perpetually connected consumers interact with brands across multiple devices at any time, and therefore, have a high propensity to spend more money via mobile. Similarly, consumers who are the earliest adopters of emerging technologies report spending more than those who are more reticent to adopting mobile technologies.”

According to the report, Facebook is the dominant social network but less so than last year, accessed via mobile at 85%, followed by Twitter at 35%, and Google+ at 21%. A majority of brands provide mobile-optimized experiences for offers that are launched from their Facebook fan pages via mobile devices.

“Different devices deserve different experiences,” the report reads. “Today’s consumers move easily between smartphones and tablets and expect equally optimized visits across all devices. Brands must offer an engaging and dynamic mobile user experience design to provide a consistent experience across all devices and screens.”

“The world is becoming increasingly mobile, making it more important than ever for companies to connect all their channels—including web, social, call center, search—with mobile to achieve the business objectives of conversion, revenue, and loyalty,” Adobe concludes.