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April 27, 2015

Embrace mobile apps or lose millennial business, Oracle warns

Tap into the app generation or fall behind your competitors.

By Ellie Burns

App experience is a top priority for millenials according to new research from Oracle, with 55% saying a poor app experience would put them off using a company’s products or services.

The Oracle report, ‘Millennials and mobility: how businesses can tap into the app generation’, reveals that 39% of millennials would also be less likely to recommend a company’s products or services to others following a poor app experience.

A further 27% stated that a poor app experience would result in a negative view of that organisation’s products or services altogether.

The report’s findings make it clear that companies need to up their app game, as a poor app experience risks alienating the millennial generation and seeing competition pull ahead with a more convincing mobile offering.

Apps provided to current and prospective customers need to be engaging, with a key focus on the accurate reflection of a brand’s value the report suggests.

Suhas Uliyar, VP Mobile Strategy and Product Management at Oracle, said: "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."

Unsolicited communications in the form of push-notifications irrelevant to the user’s needs was also revealed to be an app no-no, with more than half (56%) stating that they would prefer not to receive push-notifications at all.

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The same percentage rarely act on the push-notifications they do receive, even though nearly 50% admit these are personalised to them.

Despite this attitude to push-notifications, the report did find that users were happy to receive support in the form of value-added communications from businesses.

73% of those surveyed ‘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.

To this point, Suhas Uliyar added: "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. Organizations 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 revealed the overwhelming difference in app use between the EMEA and APAC regions.

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 20-25 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.

The research also pointed to the gap between smartphone and tablet app use among millenials. Smartphones remain the device of choice for accessing apps, although tablets are used on a considerable scale.

61% percent 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. Suhas Uliyar remarked.

"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."

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