Mobile app usage on the rise — Instacart, Whole Foods lead the way

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Bill Wilson | Mar 14, 2023



A new study reveals that downloads grew to 255 billion over the last year (formerly App Annie), a mobile data analytics provider, revealed in its annual State of Mobile 2023 Report that demand for mobile apps accelerated last year while consumer spending shrank. Downloads grew to 255 billion (+11% year-over-year), and hours spent peaked at 4.1 trillion (+9% YoY). Meanwhile, consumer spending across all app stores, including third-party Android marketplaces in China, slipped by 2% YoY to $167 billion as economic headwinds impact discretionary spending.

More specifically at the grocery level, the following information was released about mobile apps:

Sessions in food and grocery delivery apps have continued to climb after seeing accelerated growth at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, sessions climbed 10% YoY in 2022 compared to 35% YoY growth in 2021 and 17% growth in 2019
Among the top 15 shopping-related keywords by U.S. iPhone search volume, nearly half are for brick-and-mortar retailers. Grocery stores like Whole Foods Market and Kroger have clearly found an opportunity in search ads bidding by targeting big brick-and-mortar retailers with groceries.

Instacart comes in at No. 4 in the U.S. in the Food & Drink category for app downloads, and Sam’s Club is ranked seventh. Furthermore, when using “Costco” as a keyword during a search on iPhone, the Whole Foods Market app was the top result claiming 40% of the share, while the Safeway Deals and Delivery app was second with 20%. When using “Sam’s Club”, Whole Foods came in at No. 2 with 24% of the share and the Kroger app was fourth with 4%. Those who voice searched “Target” had Whole Foods (No. 3) and Kroger (No. 4) come up 9% and 6%, respectively. The CVS Pharmacy app was ranked third (6%) when “Walgreens” was the search command, and the Whole Foods app was third (14%) when “Walmart” was mentioned. The Walmart app came in at No. 1. It’s important to note that the searches involved paid keywords, where retailers pay Google for each click in order to appear in their sponsored action for keywords.

Short-form video apps, led by TikTok, dominated consumer attention in 2022. Users of these apps streamed a whopping 3.1 billion hours of user-generated content daily, up 22% YoY, and spent $5.6 billion, up 55% YoY, fueling the creator economy.