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Wait, What Shopping Apps Are You Using?

Because on average, shoppers have 4.2 of them installed on their phones right now.

A woman with a patterned manicure holds a smartphone with a neon, patterned case.
A student uses her smartphone, maybe for shopping. Who knows?
Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/Getty Images

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It’s pretty clear that the way we shop today is a blend of online and offline habits. Maybe you pull out your smartphone while standing in a store to compare prices. Maybe you’ve ordered a piece of clothing from an e-commerce player like Farfetch and picked it up in a local store of your choosing, “click and collect”-style.

To get a better sense for our online shopping tendencies, particularly when it comes to mobile browsing and buying, the market research firm Ipsos and Google conducted a survey during October, the results of which they released Wednesday.

Turns out people are pretty loyal to an app-based shopping experience, despite the threat that poses to phone memory. While 64 percent of respondents said they had used a mobile website to shop in the last month, 54 percent said they’d used an app — and on average, those polled have 4.2 shopping apps installed on their phones.

Google and Ipsos’s research doesn’t include which apps people preferred, but it does shed some light on why they like them. The top traits shoppers said they value in an app include easy navigability, good discounts or offers, a wide product selection, and constant newness in that assortment.

In fact, when it comes to people pulling the trigger on downloading a shopping app, access to discounts was by far the biggest hook, with 49 percent of people citing it as a top motivation and 37 percent saying they download apps to complete purchases, making that the second most common factor.

Clothing, shoes, and accessories, by the way, are by far the most commonly purchased items on mobile. Of respondents, 70 percent said they’d shopped in that category in the last 30 days, versus 51 percent buying electronics, 30 percent going for skincare and cosmetics, and 28 percent buying groceries.

Despite the fact that Racked is a website all about shopping for things you put on your body, an incredibly unscientific Slack survey revealed that its staffers aren’t necessarily big shopping app users. Here’s what six individuals at Racked are using: FreshDirect; Anthropologie (“Mostly to get my mom gifts, and I regret it”); Urban Outfitters and Asos; Sephora, Fandango, and Amtrak; Amazon Prime (“Because that’s literally the only way”); nothing.

That’s a pretty low average relative to Google’s results. So this is a real life invitation for you to school us. What shopping apps do you have on your phone that we’re apparently missing out on?