Mobile site or mobile app?

The perennial question. What do you invest in?

It’s worth getting to grips with your customers and ask two questions:

  • What percentage of your customers own a smart phone?
  • Of those, what percentage would download your app?

How many own smartphones?

The first number is likely to be between half and 70%, depending on who you listen/believe.

That means you must have a mobile offering, which you probably knew anyway.

How many will use apps

This is a tricky question to answer, data tells us that 56% of UK adults use apps, whilst 65% use mobile web suggesting that mobile web has 20% greater adoption. Except, the 56% figure includes built-in apps – the figure for penetration when the app has to be downloaded is much, much smaller.

In fact, in a limited Google survey in 2013 it was shown that 2/3rd prefered not to use the app. To get a better idea of the value of apps, we can look at eBay, who reported 16% of revenue coming from mobile applications. Although difficult to extrapolate, it suggests that 1 in 6 may be using the mobile app and the remaining 85% using conventional browser. With mobile/tablet vs desktop visits at approx 25%:75% is suggests, conservatively, that 20% of eBays total visits come from the mobile web… i.e. more than from the app itself.

Facebook has a similar challenge with over 75% of visits coming from mobile but not all of those come from the app, it’s thought that up to 50% of those mobile visits come from browsers. And Facebook is the one of the most popular apps in the world.

So, even if you are eBay you must have a mobile site but it’s worth adding a mobile app as well. And that is the answer.

Always have a mobile site. If you need it, also have a mobile app.

Below is a neat Infographic from SignalMind that illustrates this – via the medium of pretty pictures.


This page was very helpful in understanding the market.

By Penny Driscoll