India based e-commerce shopping giant Flipkart Inc. announced that they will be shutting down their website and will operate only via app within a year. The move has received mostly criticism but it certainly raises the question, will the future be app-only and today’s immense usage of browsers decline?
Desktop vs Mobile internet usage
Mary Meeker had predicted in 2008 that ‘Mobile will overtake fixed internet access by 2014’. This was proved true last year 2014 when comScore published a report stating the same. Users now seek information on-the-go and hence spend most of the time on mobile or handheld device than desktops. There has been steep decline in the sale of PCs.
Mobile web vs Mobile apps
There has been tremendous amount of advancement in web technologies and web browsers to provide mobile optimized website with the help of Responsive Web Design techniques. However, studies have shown that on an average a user downloads 3 apps a month. Users rely mostly on the big brands for entertainment, shopping and social networking. Native apps have rich UI, they respond faster than browser based apps and have quicker access to on-device media.
Mobile app development
From Windows 8.1 onwards Microsoft has put efforts in unification of apps; which means a same app can be installed on mobile phones as well as tablets. Many cross platform and Enterprise Mobile Management platforms have come up. The databases have also progressed to support mobile devices. Integration of cloud services has given ‘do once, use everywhere’ experience. All these advancements are promoting users to increase their app usage.
Although we see increase in the usage of apps, there are significant number of users who would still prefer using a desktop version of the website; reason being wide view and capability of using tabs parallel with ease – the usability. Mobile OS platforms might take little longer to cater to such issues. It can be too early to completely shut down a website as users might take longer to habituate to this new model. However, there is a possibility that we would see an app-tized world soon.