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People are spending more time in top shopping apps like Amazon’s

Time is money.

Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

People may be downloading fewer apps, but they’re spending more time in the apps they do use — especially when it comes to shopping.

In the U.S., time spent on the Top 5 digital-first shopping apps — Amazon, Amazon Shopping, Wish, Etsy and Zulily this year — grew 44 percent in the first half of 2017 compared with the first half of 2016, according to new data from app measurement company App Annie. Amazon Shopping replaced the regular Amazon app, which is no longer available for download but is clearly widely used.

Time spent in top traditional retailer apps — Walmart, Cartwheel (Target), Kohls, Home Depot and Kroger — grew 29 percent in that time. Time spent in apps of all types grew about 17 percent since last year, as more people in general spend more time in apps.

For retailers time spent means money spent, so getting people to use their apps is important for business.

U.S. consumers spend a lot more time in Top 5 digital-first apps (14.2 billion minutes so far this year) than they do in the Top 5 apps for traditional retailers (2.5 billion minutes).

They also use digital and traditional retailer apps differently: Consumers tend to use traditional apps while on the go or in stores, whereas they are more likely to use digital-first apps while on Wi-Fi at home or work, according to App Annie.

Downloads of shopping apps grew 20 percent globally in the first half of 2017 compared to a year earlier, according to App Annie. On average, people used two to four shopping apps per month this year, out of about 30 apps in total.

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