The pandemic redefined consumer spending behavior, spurring a boom in mobile shopping that isn’t slowing down, according to a report from App Annie, Liftoff and poq. At the time of its early September release, the Mobile Shopping Apps report found that the typical mobile consumer is currently spending $88 every time they order from a shopping app. 

By May, Android users had averaged 2 billion shopping hours per week—up 51 percent from pre-pandemic levels. What’s more, over the past 12 months, the average spend was $78, up 22 percent year over year. 

App Annie’s latest research highlights a record-breaking 2021 holiday season, both in terms of time and consumer spend on mobile shopping apps. The firm estimates ​​that US shoppers will spend over 900 million hours in mobile shopping apps in Q4 2021—a 20 percent increase in time spent YoY.

Historically Q4 ecommerce sales trump all other quarters. This year, though no exception to that phenomenon, is paving the way for new development. According to the US Census Bureau, online sales in Q4 2020 reached $200 billion and Q2 2021 has already reached about $225 billion in online sales. 

App Annie’s data show that mobile app usage during the holiday season is also on the rise in the UK, with a forecasted 145+ million hours spent on apps in Q4 2021 as compared to 138 million hours spent in the same period in 2020. Despite the fact that in-person shopping will be more of an option this year than it was last year, App Annie predicts a 45 percent increase in time spent on shopping apps in Europe during the holidays vs. Q4 2019. 

Next, App Annie anticipates that fashion retailers and ‘buy now, pay later’ services will disrupt this year’s holiday shopping season. Some of 2021’s most downloaded breakout shopping apps globally include SHEIN, Blush Mark, AliExpress Russia and H&M. In May of this year, SHEIN surpassed Amazon as the most popular shopping app in the US based on iOS and Google Play downloads, according to App Annie.

Women’s fashion apps aren’t the only ones experiencing greater success lately. Fashion marketplaces with resale elements are also among the most popular heading into Q4 2021. Poshmark, for example, rose in popularity in Australia since launching there in February 2021 and WOO! Fashion ranked first in South Korea among breakout apps. Vinted, Vestiaire Collective and Meeshoo—all secondhand marketplaces and online stores—ranked similarly among breakout shopping apps globally.

Buy now, pay later apps like Klarna and Afterpay are the third and fourth most downloaded breakout shopping apps in the US. In Singapore, Atome SG is the highest-ranked breakout shopping app by downloads to date while Hoolah ranks fifth in the most popular shopping apps. Notably, some buy now, pay later apps are listed under the ‘Shopping’ category on Google Play and iOS, while others are listed under the ‘Finance’ category. App Annie’s analysis includes those listed in the former.

Mobile remains central to the omnichannel shopping experience; it drives contactless payments, loyalty programs and access to in-store benefits. App Annie recommends marketers seeking to capitalize on the shopping rush reevaluate and revamp their App Store Optimization (ASO) strategies before the end of the year. With 2021 on course to breaking new mobile shopping records, brands should begin prepping mobile strategies immediately.