Browser vs. Apps: Is the Continuing Development of Browsers Putting Apps at Risk?

by Mark Sharron

Mobile users have long been faced with the choice of using either a browser or an app. This often comes down purely to personal preference. Some people simply prefer using apps, while others feel more comfortable on a browser.

Yet, is the continuing development of browsers putting the future of apps at risk? While the traditional view has been that apps may kill off browsers eventually, there is also a theory that it could work the other way round.

So, what lies at the heart of this debate? The fact is that the browser vs. apps issue is something that divides users as much as it divides brands and developers.

When Is Browser Best?

Using the browser on your mobile device is ideal when you want to visit a site that you don’t use often. After all, there is no need to have an app on your home screen for a brand that you rarely use. Companies tend to see a good, mobile optimised website as being ideal for reaching out to new users conveniently.

A good example of when browser is best is when contacting a business for the first time to ask for basic details, or when searching for information. Unless you already have a favourite store or brand to buy your equipment from, browsing will typically give a better selection to choose from.

In addition, mobile browsers offer a fast and simple way of trying something new. For instance, you can play video slots online in a browser and find more than a thousand games to choose from on all sorts of themes. Mobile apps tend to be more tightly focussed on certain areas, limiting what you can access.

When Is An App Best?

It is no surprise to see that the biggest brands perform better than smaller companies when it comes to apps. Amazon and Walmart are a couple of the giant companies that earn as well or better from their apps as from their websites.

One of the questions that consumers need to ask themselves is if they want to put a particular brand’s app and logo on their home screen. If they do, then it is likely to be a brand that they like, trust and deal with on a regular basis.

If you have several products at home from Samsung or Canon or Toshiba then the chances are that you will download an app from them at some point. An app lets you go further in depth with a brand and build up a stronger, lasting relationship.

What Does the Future Hold?

Ultimately, whether a person uses a browser or apps comes down to what they are planning to do. A report from Morgan Stanley in 2015 suggested that mobile browser traffic is twice the volume of app traffic, but this only tells us half the story.

Other reports suggest that mobile users spend 80% of the time on their devices using apps. It certainly seems as though there is still room in the mobile market for both of these ways of interacting with a brand.

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