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Calculating The True Value of Apps For QSR and Retail Brands [InMobi Report]

Team InMobi
Team InMobi
5 min read
Posted on March 21, 2022
Calculating The True Value of Apps For QSR and Retail Brands [InMobi Report]

For QSR and retail brands in particular, what is the value of apps? In particular, does it make sense for these brands to invest in their own mobile apps and try to have more daily active users? That’s what we wanted to find out. 

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Recently, the InMobi Pulse team conducted an investigation to see if app owners (i.e., the people who have a brand’s app on their mobile device) are more or less likely to visit a brand’s physical storefronts as compared to non-app owners. With millions of dollars still spent in person, it’s more critical than ever for brands to engender loyalty with customers. 

In addition, we conducted a survey to better understand why consumers download brand apps from the iOS App Store and Google Play. With the amount of money spent within QSR and retail apps set to grow significantly in the coming months and years, it behooves brands to understand how consumers find apps and why they do (or don’t) download and use them. 

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Summary Of Our Findings: 

  • App owners visit a brand's physical store locations up to 39% more frequently than do non-app owners.  
  • App owners will visit a brand's brick-and-mortar stores up to 41% more frequently in a year as compared to non-app owners.  
  • Why do consumers use a brand's app? More often than not, because it offers convenience and helps them save time. But in many categories, awareness of brand direct apps remains low.  
  • How do consumers find out about a brand's app? The top discovery methods are mobile ads and word of mouth. 

In short, everyone from established brands to mobile startups should have their own mobile app – and invest in app developers and user acquisition. For more specific insights, be sure to check out the full report, Calculating The Value of Apps

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Comparing Recent Data To 2019 

Considering the rapid growth of app downloads, usage and even app startups that has occurred during the pandemic, are app owners more valuable today than they were in the past? Here’s what our data uncovered: 

  • Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 73% increase in the average number of sandwich QSR visits by their app owners. 
  • Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 72% increase in the average number of burger QSR visits by their app owners. 
  • Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 56% increase in the average number of chicken QSR visits by their app owners. 
  • Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 43% increase in the average number of grocery visits by their app owners. 
  • Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 38% increase in the average number of pizza QSR visits by their app owners. 
  • Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 34% increase in the average number of retail visits by their app owners. 
  • Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 28% increase in the average number of drug store/pharmacy visits by their app owners. 

Sneek Peak At The Full Report 

Curious for a taste of the full report? Here’s a snippet: 


Today, just about every major retailer and quick-service restaurant (QSR) has its own mobile app. How should these brands be thinking about their apps. And more broadly, is it worthwhile for brands to invest in their apps and in getting more people to have and use their apps? 

We first asked these questions in 2019. At that point in time, the answer was a resounding yes.  

But of course, a lot has changed in the intervening years. For one, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted how Americans dine out, shop, buy essentials and do so much more.  

Between 2019 and 2022, the mobile app ecosystem has evolved significantly. What consumers expect from their mobile devices now is different than what they were looking for in the past. 

To better understand the role of apps and potential value of app users today, we turned to our own data. Specifically, we leveraged our consumer insights to see if app owners were more likely than non-app owners to visit physical store locations.  

Further, we surveyed over 1,700 Americans of all stripes using InMobi Pulse, InMobi's mobile market research solution, to see what adults across the U.S. had to say about their own app usage. 

Top Takeaways 

In the QSR and Retail space, our research highlights the fact that app awareness and adoption are low. This is clearly a missed opportunity, as the data also shows that app owners are much more valuable to a brand, visiting more frequently throughout the year – and making more purchases. 

How can this gap be rectified? According to our survey, advertising is a great option. By investing more especially in mobile advertising (after all, Americans are expected to spend on average close to four and half hours a day on their mobile devices in 2022), brands can boost both awareness and downloads of their app. 

Of course, messaging will be key. Consumers often use these apps for convenience, to save time and/or to access offers and discounts, so ads should highlight how the app makes people's lives easier and helps them save money. 

Consider pre-emptively addressing potential concerns in marketing messaging too. The top reason consumers don't have these brand direct apps is because they prefer making purchases in person, so it may be a good idea to show how the app supports or improves the brick-and-mortar experience. 

Brands everywhere are facing a loyalty problem. In an era in which consumers can buy from multiple brands through multiple channels at any point in the day or year, why should they purchase from you?  

Apps can help address this issue. With consumers spending more time than ever on mobile, apps give brands a direct connection to consumers, allowing them to better understand what their customers want. Going forward, the brands that invest in their own apps (and in app user acquisition) are the ones that will be in the best position to succeed in 2022 and beyond. 

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