According to a recent Pymnts.com article, American consumers currently spend about 46 minutes a day shopping (offline and online), whereas that number was 48 minutes in 2003. While the amount of time spent shopping hasn’t changed drastically in the last 13 years, how consumers shop has completely changed. Thanks to mobile devices, time and location are no longer limitations. This flexibility and access opens up a stream of opportunities for businesses looking to capture the 46 minutes of shopping behaviour.

“Most players, in fact, feel their very futures depend on creating an experience that maximizes the opportunity for commerce at every connected endpoint they can reasonably control, across any shopping channel or platform that the consumer may want to use to conduct a transaction.”

Who are these players? They’re the likes of Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook/Messenger etc. all players “trying to figure out ways to have its own platform drive commerce with as few dependencies as possible on anyone but itself. That will get harder as enabling commerce to any connected endpoint becomes more complicated and dependencies become essential.”

Before the advent of smartphones, young people flocked to malls- not just to shop- but to hang out with their friends and spend their free time. But now, a lot of this ‘hanging out’ happens through their smartphones’ apps.

“85 percent of the five hours a day consumers spend on those smartphones is spent interacting with only a small handful of them: Facebook and Instagram (stalking friends and posting pictures), Messenger and Snapchat (messaging friends), YouTube and SlideJoy (being entertained), and Pandora and Spotify (listening to music).

You have to go pretty far down the list — to position No. 26 in App Annie’s list of popular apps by time spent — to get to the first retail app. There, sitting at position No. 26, is Amazon. A sliver of the 12 minutes of those five hours a day spent in pursuit of shopping is spent inside a small handful of apps already favorited by the consumer: Amazon, eBay, Walmart, CVS, Macy’s, Target, Kohl’s.”

It makes perfect sense that social apps will have far more regular usage than retail apps, since people don’t need to buy clothes every single day, but they do need to communicate and access information daily. The opportunity for retailers here is to improve their efforts in attracting even more loyal customers (and retaining existing ones), as regular shoppers are most likely to find value in having a retailer’s app on their phones.

While it remains to be seen if there will be a clear winner in the race to have a dominant mobile commerce platform, at Lucova, where we’re focused on creating middleware solutions that seamlessly link the online world to the offline by allowing mobile devices to communicate with merchants POS systems, our bet would be on platforms that focus on the customer experience and connection and not just functionality.