Studies show that, in general, mobile apps have been used more often than mobile websites in the U.S since June of 2011. Today, mobile apps are used more than 20 minutes more than mobile and desktop websites on a daily basis – a fact that may not sound substantial, but shows a tremendous swing considering the opposite was true only two years ago.
In order to understand the demand for mobile apps, it is important to consider how they are used. Games and social networking make up the majority of the consumers’ time, but those aren’t the only reason people download mobile apps. According to ComScore, people are more likely to use a mobile app than a website for managing data, navigation, and connecting with others.
Although it can be more expensive to develop, a mobile app offers more to the consumer who chooses to download it. Apps can provide a faster, more interactive experience than a mobile website. They can be integrated with phone features like location services, the camera, or other apps as well. Websites require the user to take initiative in order to access information from the site. A mobile app gives the business owner the opportunity to reach out with push notifications or require a login to generate leads.
One of the more valuable abilities of a mobile app is that it is available at all times, with or without Wi-Fi or cellular service. A mobile website requires an internet-connected browser in order to be viewed. This is especially important when factoring in the number of tablets that require Wi-Fi hotspots to access the web. Mobile apps designed for tablets allow the user to access information whenever and wherever they choose.
However, there are, of course, reasons to create and maintain a mobile website. Statistics show that people use mobile websites more often than apps in the cases of shopping, entertainment, and searching. Mobile websites are also compatible across multiple platforms, whereas an app needs to be customized to fit a smartphone’s requirements.
Businesses looking to reach a wider customer base could use mobile apps in addition to a mobile website. However, if resources allow for only one option, a mobile app might present a greater opportunity to reach out to the customer.