Which do consumers prefer – mobile apps or browsers? According to a recent study, unfortunately, there is no clear winner. Marketers need to understand how their consumers use each within their industry in order to align their mobile strategy, according to the MillwardBrown Digital study, The New Mobile Mantra.
The research finds that overall usage of the browser or an app is very similar: 59 percent of total unique visitors to the top 30 mobile brands visited via browser, versus 60 percent an app. However, when drilling down into usage related to specific categories, distinct patterns emerge, according to MillwardBrown. When it comes to infrequent contact or purchase categories like cars, hotels and consumer electronics, people tend to use their browser most, but if it is a frequently used service then apps are used more.
While most hotel bookings are currently made using a desktop or laptop computer, research firm Phocuswright expects mobile travel bookings to boom in the next few years. In 2012, only 5 percent of travel bookings in the U.S. were made using mobile devices, but next year, that number is expected to reach 18 percent.
U.S. guests are actually lagging behind Europe and China in adopting mobile bookings. Next year in Europe, mobile bookings are expected to be around 22 percent of all travel bookings. China, the country with the world’s largest population, will see as much as 31 percent of all travel bookings made on a smartphone or tablet, reports O’Rourke Hospitality.
The most popular reason for mobile bookings in the U.S. is last-minute bookings. While many bookings made on online travel agencies from desktop and laptop computers are last-minute reservations, a staggering 72 percent of mobile hotel bookings on an OTA's site or through an OTA app were made within one day of the stay.