Trust and comfort with using apps to make purchases appears to be growing as almost one-quarter of smartphone owners did so for the first time in 2015, according to Verizon (NYSE: VZ). The carrier's new commissioned survey also showed upticks in accessing banking and transportation services via apps, though large gaps remain is app-based purchasing among different age groups.
A majority of smartphone owners (56%) bought a product using an app in 2015. Of that total, 23% of smartphone owners did so for the first time last year.
The numbers for mobile banking almost identically matched those for purchases in apps. Last year, 55% of smartphone owners said they used an app for mobile banking, and 23% said they did so for the first time.
The biggest driver of growth for purchases made within apps was ordering taxis or car rides, which was up 124% year-over-year in 2015. Among the adults surveyed, 22% said they used an app to order a ride, compared to just 10% in 2014.
- But among the adults who responded, millennials (ages 18-34) was the group most likely to use an app for making purchases, banking, or ordering a ride. Of the age groups making purchases in apps last year, millennials (70%) lead the way just ahead of Gen X (66%) and well ahead of Baby Boomers (39%).
"The survey also found that, among adult smartphone users in the U.S.: 26% used an app to book a restaurant, with 11% of them reserving a table with an app for the first time last year (72% increase); and 22% used an app to purchase an airline flight, with 8% making their maiden booking last year (54% increase)," Scott Charlston, PR manager for Verizon's Pacific Northwest and Alaska regions, wrote.
The continued growth in the number of smartphone owners willing to make purchases with mobile apps seems to coincide with the growth as a whole for mobile payments. A recent study from Gartner predicts that 50 percent of consumers across the U.S., Japan and parts of Western Europe will use smartphones or wearables to make payments by 2018. But the study says that among the methods used for mobile payments, cloud-based solutions will have a better chance at succeeding than mobile payment options tied to devices such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay because of the potential for limited adoption. That analysis seems to indicate that the number of people using apps for purchases, particularly cross-platform apps, will continue to rise.
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