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85pc prefer mobile apps over mobile Web: Compuware

Mobile applications are preferred by smartphone users over mobile Web sites because apps are more convenient, faster and easier to navigate, according to a new report from Compuware.

With users embracing apps to streamline calendars and grocery lists, catch snippets of entertainment while on-the-go and to make banking more convenient, the report found that 85 percent of mobile users prefer apps over mobile sites. However, only 28 percent said apps offer a better user experience than mobile sites.

?The big news is that the vast majority of users prefer mobile apps over mobile Web sites,? said Stephen Pierzchala, technology strategist at Compuware, Detroit.

?Specifically, when consumers were asked about the benefits of using a mobile app versus a mobile Web site, the majority said they preferred mobile apps primarily because apps are more convenient, faster and easier to browse,? he said.

The convenience factor
Mobile users associate apps with helping them save time and make life more convenient across a variety of activities, from collaborating with co-workers and shopping to booking hotels and travel.

Key findings from the "Mobile Apps: What Consumers Really Need and Want," report include that the average number of apps owned by a smartphone user has increased 28 percent in the last year from 32 to 41 apps.

However, the amount of time that users spend with apps is essentially flat, with respondents spending 39 minutes per day with apps compared to 37 minutes in 2011.

Convenience is the biggest reason why users prefer mobile apps to the mobile Web, with 55 percent of respondents citing this as the reason why they like apps while 48 percent cited how fast apps are, 40 percent that apps are easier to browse, 28 percent that apps have a better user experience, 27 that apps make it easier to check a bank account and 26 percent that apps are easier to shop.

Great expectations
The survey of more than 3,500 users around the world also found that 56 percent of users experienced a problem with apps, with 62 percent reporting a crash, freeze or error, 47 percent experiencing slow launch times and 40 percent trying an app that simply would not launch.

The results suggest that users will quickly abandon an app after only one or two failed attempts if they encounter problems with the app, pointing to the need for developers to make sure their apps perform as promised.

The survey found that 79 percent would retry a mobile app once or twice if it failed to work the first time. 

Additionally, 48 percent would be less likely to use an app again if they were dissatisfied with the performance, 34 percent would switch to a competitor's mobile app, 31 percent would tell others about their poor experience, 31 percent would be less likely to purchase from that company, 26 percent would give the app a low rating and 24 percent would have a negative overall perception of the company.

Other key findings include that 78 percent expect apps to load as fast ? or faster than ? a mobile Web site and 84 percent of users say app store ratings are important in their decisions to download and install a mobile app.

The results point to the need for developers to make a conscious effort throughout every stage of the design and development process to insure apps are fast and reliable as well as offer a core utility in order to fulfill user's expectations

?The most surprising finding was how detrimental the impact of poor mobile app performance can be ? not just in terms of end-users adopting and using the app, but the potential impact on other channels,? Mr. Pierzchala said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York