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Mobile apps are the new face of business

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Almost 55% of millennials say a poor mobile app experience would make them less likely to use a company’s products or services.According to a new global Oracle report, Millennials and Mobility: how Businesses can tap into the App Generation, 39% of millennials would also be less likely to recommend a company’s products or services to others following a poor app experience, and 27% admit it would even give them a negative view of that organisation’s products or services altogether.

These findings make it clear that if companies cannot provide current and prospective customers with engaging mobile app experience that also accurately reflects the values of their brand, they risk alienating the millennial generation and seeing their competition pull ahead with a more convincing mobile offering.

Suhas Uliyar, vice-president, mobile strategy and product management at Oracle, says: “An engaging and personalized user experience has become the new weapon in the battle to attract and retain millennial customers. Businesses that cannot add value for customers with a more convenient, functional, and relevant mobile experience have little chance of coming out on top.”

The report also shows that millennials are turned off by unsolicited communications in the form of push-notifications that aren’t relevant to their individual needs, but are happy to receive support in the form of value-added communications from businesses.

Seventy-three percent “like” the ability to purchase a company’s product or service using a mobile app. Likewise, 71% like the ability to manage billing for services, and 65% like being able to flag issues or complaints to a business via a mobile app. That said, more than half (56%) would prefer not to receive push-notifications. The same percentage rarely act on the push-notifications they do receive, even though nearly 50% admit these are personalised to them.

To this point, Suhas Uliyar adds: “The ability to manage bills or flag service issues to a company via a mobile app implies an agreed-upon relationship between a customer and brand or service provider. The story is completely different in the case of push-notifications. Organisations will need to provide app-based services that deftly tread the line between helpfulness and overbearingness if they want to tap into young peoples’ affinity for using mobile and tablet apps without alienating them.”

A region-specific breakdown of the survey reveals that young people in APAC are miles ahead in their app use across the board, most notably so when it comes to apps for work and more “serious” functions. Nearly three times as many millennials in APAC than in EMEA rate their work apps as absolute must-haves, with a similar ratio holding true for security apps. In addition, while millennials around the world have each downloaded between 20 and 25 mobile apps on average, 40% of those in APAC have paid for as many as five of these, compared with roughly 25% of those in EMEA and North America.

For millennials in APAC, mobile apps are not just “nice-to-haves”, they are necessary resources in their day-to-day lives. Young people in this region are constantly on the look-out for new innovative apps and, encouragingly for businesses, are willing to pay for applications that deliver a valuable experience.

On a global scale, the research points to a telling discrepancy between smartphone and tablet app use among millennials. While young people use tablets on a considerable scale, smartphones remain their device of choice for accessing mobile apps. For example, 61% of millennials have uploaded media content using a smartphone app, nearly twice as many as have done so with a tablet (35%). When it comes to transferring money to a friend, 48% have used a smartphone app to do so, versus 22% that resorted to tablet apps.

“There clearly remains much room for innovation when it comes to tablet apps, as well as apps for larger form phablets, and companies that answer the call will be well-placed to capitalize on a still maturing market. However, apps for smartphones and tablets should not be developed independently from each other. Many millennials own multiple connected devices, and businesses will need to deliver a consistent, high-quality app experience across all of these if they want to add value for their customers,” says Uliyar.