Nielsen: Mobile shopping apps can help in-store sales

Summary:Major online retailers are finding early success in the mobile shopping market, but don't count out brick-and-mortar locations just yet.

Mobile commerce, with mobile shopping in particular, continues to skyrocket, but major brands continue to dominate the scene, according to a new report from Nielsen.

Nielsen found that almost half of U.S. smartphone owners (47 percent) used shopping apps in June 2012. Approximately 45 million smartphone owners accessed shopping apps 17 times on average during the same time frame.

Out of those apps used, eBay and Amazon topped the list of shopping apps, attracting 13 million and 12 million unique users, respectively. The really staggering difference between the top two apps was the average amount of time that users spent on each one in June.

Mobile shoppers spent an average of one hour and four minutes on eBay Mobile each month compared to Amazon Mobile at just 18 minutes or so.

Technically, eBay also made another appearance on the top 10 list as subsidiary RedLaser rang in at number 8.

Daily deal sites -- at least the big ones like Groupon and LivingSocial  -- are still proving to be relevant even as the craze dies down. Each of these brands saw more than 10 million Americans using their apps during the month of June.

But startups made up the bottom end of the top 10 list, signaling that there is room and opportunity for smaller and lesser-known retail brands to make a jump into this market now while it's hot. For example, Nielsen researchers cited that the presence of apps like Shopkick and Out of Milk reflect "the unique opportunities for apps to engage shoppers in retail locations."

But also on that note, the frequent use of mobile shopping apps also reveals another key point that often times consumers are using mobile shopping apps for actual in-store shopping instead.

Don Kellogg, director of telecom insights at Nielsen, argued in the report that "retailers are finding that consumers are willing to use smartphone apps to enhance their shopping experience, and this data shows usage of shopping apps is growing."

For reference, Nielsen surveyed more than 5,000 U.S. consumers with smartphones running on either iOS or Android. The full report, along with more detailed rankings and stats for all the top shopping apps, is available online now.

Topics: Apps, Amazon, Mobility, Start-Ups

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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