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Predicting mobile app usage for purchasing and information-sharing

David G. Taylor (John F. Welch College of Business, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA)
Michael Levin (Department of Business, Accounting, Economics, Otterbein University, Westerville, Ohio, USA)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 5 August 2014




Mobile applications, or apps, are an increasingly important part of omnichannel retailing. While the adoption and usage of apps for marketing purposes has grown exponentially over the past few years, there is little academic research in this area. The purpose of this paper is to examine how the mobile phone platform (Android vs Apple iOS), interest in the app and recency of store visit affect consumers’ likelihood to use the apps for purchasing and information-sharing activities.


The paper tests a model by analysing survey data collected from customers of a major US retailer using partial least squares regression.


The analysis finds that the level of interest in a retail app is positively related to the consumer's intention to engage in both purchasing and information-sharing activities. In addition, the recency of the consumer's last visit to the retail store has a moderating effect on both types of activities; the more recent the last visit, the larger the effect-size of interest in the app on intention to share information and make a purchase.

Practical implications

While marketing and advertising managers may have suspected that Apple iOS users are more receptive to retail mobile apps, this study provides empirical support for the proposition. In addition, the moderating effect of recency of visit suggests that in-store promotions may be effective in increasing usage of the retailer's mobile apps.


This study is among the first in the academic literature to examine predictors of mobile app usage for purchasing and information sharing. It fills a gap in the literature, while at the same time providing actionable information for practitioners.



G. Taylor, D. and Levin, M. (2014), "Predicting mobile app usage for purchasing and information-sharing", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 42 No. 8, pp. 759-774.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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