- Lowe's, Chick-Fil-A and Papa John's have the best-performing apps among their respective rivals, helping to improve the customer experience for their mobile users, according to a study that app performance software firm HeadSpin shared with Mobile Marketer. The apps also loaded the fastest on smartphone screens.
- Lowe's had the lowest total spinner time (TST), a measure of how long a mobile user spends waiting for an app to show readable and usable content, among retailers at 7.2 seconds. That was faster than the apps from Target, Best Buy, Wayfair, Shop, Home Depot, Kohl's, Amazon, Walmart and Wish, according to HeadSpin.
- Chick-Fil-A and Papa John's were tied as the fastest restaurant apps with TSTs of 4.5 seconds, better than Wendy's, Dunkin, McDonald's, Chipotle, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Burger King and Panera. Among food delivery apps, Uber Eats performed better than Postmates, Grubhub and Doordash, per HeadSpin.
Apps provide a branded experience for millions of consumers, making key performance indicators like load times more crucial for mobile marketers that seek to engage their customers and drive online sales. For brands like Lowe's, Chick-Fil-A and Papa John's, mobile marketing channels have become even more important with many of their customers stuck at home during pandemic lockdowns. The performance of their apps can make a difference in business results, according to HeadSpin.
HeadSpin's report examines some of the underlying reasons for differences in the load times for shopping apps, which can differ by mobile operating system. For example, Target has the fastest TST on Android devices, while Best Buy performs best on Apple's iOS devices. Target is notable for letting app users continue to shop after they've added products to their shopping carts, helping to keep them on a path toward an eventual purchase, per HeadSpin.
HeadSpin also found key differences in app launch time for shopping apps, which is part of its TST measure that includes the time to search for products, load a product page and add items to digital shopping carts. Amazon has the slowest time to launch on iOS — 7.8 seconds — because the app connects to multiple Amazon hosts, and requests more content from servers compared with rival apps like Home Depot's, which launches in 3.5 seconds, per HeadSpin's data.
Among restaurant and food delivery apps, which need to provide fast performance to prevent their customers from going elsewhere when they have cravings to satisfy, HeadSpin found key differences. Chick-Fil-A's leading score was attributable to its Android app that had a HAPI rating of 3, while Wendy's had the fastest score of 5.3 on iOS devices. Wendy's app had the quickest load time of 0.3 seconds, while Pizza Hut was slowest at 5.3 seconds. Pizza Hut's slower load time was attributed to its backend server that made the app wait for responses from its websites, while the app also used PNG image files instead of WebP or JPEG formats that load faster, per HeadSpin.