Parks Associates, found that this young demographic is starting to ditch the Web browser in favor of apps, and are especially put off by mobile websites not designed for the small screen.Consumers under 35 - that is, those in Generations X and Y, the latter also referred to as "millennials" - tend to prefer using mobile applications over Web browsers on smartphones, as compared with older mobile users, a new study shows. Data collected by market research and consulting firm
The preference for native mobile applications is growing among this under-35 group, said Harry Wang, director of mobile product research, Parks Associates, because apps don't require users to enter in Web addresses or force them to deal with slow browser speeds, he explained.
"The mobile experience is all about convenience and instantaneous access," Wang said. "The advantages of mobile apps could lead to a new content distribution environment for paid and ad-supported media services."
Although Wang contended that mobile apps will not completely replace Web browsers, distributors that rely too much on the mobile Web may lose audience and revenues.
While that statement may have developers running to download native SDKs (software development kits) for iPhone, Android and other platforms, a word of caution from us: this research was based on a survey, where apparently the question asked was: "I prefer apps over a Web browser when accessing mobile content. Agree? Disagree?"
As you know, surveys that ask users to identify their own behavioral patterns aren't as viable as those that actually measure the behavior itself.
It's also worth pointing out that these findings contradict two other reports we've seen this year. One report was from a mobile search company (and app maker) Taptu, which said that the future of the mobile Web is likely to be dominated by cross-platform browser-based mobile websites, not native apps. Adobe, too, released a report in October saying people prefer the mobile Web to apps.
In other words, take this latest with a grain of salt until more research arrives. But do consider that there is likely an obvious truth here: native mobile apps will always be preferred when the mobile Web experience (slow loading times, no mobile site) remains poor.