UK retailers dominate MasterCard’s inaugural Top App Index

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The UK holds five of the top 20 mobile shopping apps in Europe, according to a new index created by MasterCard. The results of the Mobile Top App Index show that the UK stands out for the quality and quantity of its apps.

The judges analysed more than 1,000 apps from 36 European countries, for their performance in technical, commercial and usability aspects. The study also revealed the various ways in which people embrace mobile technology when shopping on the go.

Recognising the best shopping apps in 19 retail categories and identifying major trends in the industry, the cross-sector survey sheds light on the changing habits of shoppers and app developers, and their interaction with retailers. The results show that of the 19 best shopping apps in Europe, the UK and Germany dominated with five each: Argos, Tesco, Mothercare, EasyJet and The Body Shop were cited in the UK.

The UK and Germany have the most shopping apps in Europe, both with more than 70 each; more than double the average of 30 apps in other European markets.

James Millett, easyJet’s head of digital, said: “We’re really pleased to have been recognised in MasterCard’s Top App Index. With the easyJet app flights can be booked in a few simple steps and passengers can check-in for their flights, scan and add their passport details using their camera and download their boarding passes – as well as a number of other useful functions. Our talented team are always working on innovative ways to further improve the app to make travel even easier for our passengers.”

Javier Perez, president MasterCard Europe, said: “The way people spend around the world is changing fast and here in Europe we want to recognise the great work being done by both traditional and new retailers who are leveraging technology to make people’s lives easier. The MasterCard Top App Index celebrates the innovation and diversity here in Europe while showcasing how many countries are leading the way in create safe and simple shopping experiences you can enjoy wherever you are.”

MOBILE AS A SHOP WINDOW

Jennifer Copestake, BBC Click, added: “Innovation has to happen for retailers to expand their businesses and move forward so everyone can use their apps online. The quality of the user experience of so many apps was really impressive and I’m wondering where the developers will take the apps in the future and how they will differentiate between their competitors.”

Dr Carsten Sørensen, associate professor (Reader) in Digital Innovation at the London School of Economics and Political Science, identified more trends. He said: “We have seen that merchants have already realised that being present on mobile is important, and that for a significant number of applications the screens of mobile devices are often regarded simply as another shop window. Some apps were successfully able to keep the shopping process simple while also giving just enough information about the product or service to make the shopping experience fit easily to the mobile lifestyle.”

MasterCard’s Index also showed how European retailers and app developers are currently most interested in seven retail categories, and that those produce around 65% of the apps: food delivery, taxis, public transport ticketing (railway, mass transit, bus, etc.), publishing (books, magazines etc.), accommodation, parking ticketing, and entertainment (cinema, theatre, festivals, sports events etc.)

PAYMENT LANDSCAPE

Payment cards are by far the most popular payment method for app owners/developers in Europe, with 52% of all shopping apps offering this type of payment. Cash on delivery is still significant, and available in 36% of all shopping apps. Online wallets, however, are quickly gaining momentum and are now found in 24% of the best apps. From those shortlisted from the total base, online card payment and online wallets represent a significantly higher proportion – 82% and 39% respectively.

SOCIAL MEDIA: A SIGN OF THE TIMES?

Recent years have seen an incredible increase in the so-called “social sign-in” on websites. Social sign-in, or login, simply means that users entering a site can easily sign-in to third-party services with their social media accounts and that there is no need to fill out a form repeatedly with personal details. As a result of this growing trend, the majority of applications were expected to offer social sign-ins. However, it was surprising to see that in fact the results were quite the opposite. Of the 1,000+ tested applications, a mere 7.5% of them offered social sign-in in parallel with standalone registration. However, in the final group of shortlisted applications, this number doubled (still an unexpectedly low figure). A little more than 20% of those apps offer sign-in with social media accounts.

BUCKING THE TREND?

In addition to the best-ranked apps, a few others stood out from the competition. These range from exceptional ideas put into practice – e.g. making it possible to pre-order snacks at events, identify and purchase clothing items seen on TV actors, or to pay for an electronic car recharge on the go. Thus for those who always wanted to order natural gas, numerous bottles of water, or even to book a religious service and pay for it via payment card, the mobile shopping world has made such things possible.

Top Apps by MasterCard 2015

·         Argos – UK·         BlaBlaCar – France(Personal Services)

·         BiTaksi – Turkey (Taxi)

·         Booking.com Hotel Reservations

Worldwide & Hotel Deals

– Netherlands (Accommodation)

·         Conrad – Germany

(Electronics and Multimedia)

·         Chocogreets – Switzerland

(Gifts and Surprises)

·         easyJet – UK

·         Lieferheld – Germany (Meal Delivery)

·         Mothercare – UK

·         oBilet – Turkey (Transport)

·         pamediakopes.gr – Greece (Holidays)·         Parko – Israel (Parking)·         Nexto Reader – Poland (Publishing)

·         Shpock – Germany

(Online Auctions and Classifieds)

·         Spotlime – Italy

(Entertainment Tickets)

·         Sixt Rent a Car – Germany

(Cars and Motorcycles)

·         The Body Shop – UK

·         Tesco – UK

·         Zalando – Germany

(Clothing and Fashion)