The State Of Shopping Apps In 2022

Mapendo Team
May 11, 2022
The State Of Shopping Apps In 2022

Download our free guide to app install campaigns here to learn the best practices for scaling your app with high-quality users

Shopping apps have been hailed as the new frontier for retail ecommerce, with more consumers than ever turning to their smartphones to shop. Whether this is from the grip that the pandemic had on our lifestyle, turning many to their phones as the crux to connect to the outside world, or the rapidly growing technological advances, the lucrative opportunity that this offers for shopping app marketers to increase their mobile user acquisition is huge. 

In 2021, shopping apps sales exceeded an incredible $359.32 billion, up 15.2% from 2020. This is forecasted to more than double to $728.28 billion by 2025! By then Shopping apps are estimated to account for 44.2% of all retail ecommerce sales in the US. 

The question is how can mobile ecommerce marketers ride this wave and increase their mobile user acquisition activity? To answer that question we have outlined some of the most foolproof tips to follow that will help you optimize your mobile user acquisition and conquer this market. 

Strategies to bump up your shopping app’s user acquisition

According to Appsflyer’s latest report on mobile ecommerce, the number of users who downloaded shopping apps climbed by a whopping 48% between January and July of 2021, with Android gaining 55% and iOS getting 32%. In just this space of 7 months the market was transformed. With this trend, it is vital you apply your mobile user acquisition budget strategically. The first step in this is:

Know your KPIs and Metrics: Proper tracking of shopping app specific metrics and KPIs are absolutely critical. 

  1. App Installs are a key metric that shopping apps must track. Appsflyer’s most recent report ranks app installs as the No.1 metric to track for shopping apps. 

App Install case study: We certainly agree that scaling your shopping app installs is one of the most lucrative ways to increase market share and fuel your app user base with new potential customers. Take Mapendo’s most recent triumph with one of the biggest retails giants in the indonesian market. Our campaign management team carefully designed an effective mobile user acquisition strategy to increase app installs 700% : we started placing ads in the highest possible number of app publishers through our A.I.-powered platform, which is integrated with many Real Time Bidding exchanges. By bidding in billions of auctions we were able to more than double the number of daily installs in the first two weeks of the app install campaign. 

  1. User Engagement is another important metric to carefully monitor as it can significantly boost your mobile user acquisition.  App engagement helps increase your revenue and the LTV (lifetime value) of a customer. Highly engaged customers purchase often and are more likely to come back time and time again.

User engagement case study: A prime example of when investing in user engagement pays off is our partnership with the No.1 cash back app in the US. Thanks to our mobile user acquisition strategy, which combines quality and scaling, and our proprietary technology, we boosted their main KPI, the number of First Scans. ​​By bringing in high-value users we achieved a 57% improvement in the volume of installs and increased 4x the user engagement rate, making sure the app install campaigns were always ROAS-positive. 

Data From Our Case Study On N°1 Cash Back App In The US

Creative best practices to convert shoppers into payers

One best practice for your creatives that is unique to shopping apps is to ‘level up’ your ad strategy for key dates. This means taking your ads optimisation to the next level leading up to when special days are approaching. While you probably already know the key dates we are talking about; Black Friday, New Year’s day, Valentine’s day, you shouldn't underestimate the power they hold. When we say level up, what do we mean? Well some examples are:

  • Rotating your creative ads
  • A/B testing with ads
  • Optimize Visual ad elements (keywords, colors, fonts, incentives, call to actions)

Assessing the effectiveness of these multiple advertising creative concepts, through A/B testing, on segmented audiences and in multiple geographic locations is an efficient way to determine which ad formats appeal most to shoppers on apps. Mapendo’s A.I. technology is fully integrated with multiple RTB exchanges, takes part in billions of auctions to collect and analyzes huge amounts of data to optimize this process.

To learn more about growing your app with programmatic advertising, check out our free guide to app user acquisition for 2022 here!

The impact of SKAdNetwork on shopping apps

What is Skadnetwork: 

Apple introduced SKAdNetwork as a different approach to campaign measurement that limits how data at the user level is available to the app developer. SKAdNetwork provides basic, privacy-focused attribution, and it doesn’t require user consent because Apple designed it within their privacy guidelines. 

Since Apple's App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework no longer generates most user-level data in iOS 14.5+, SKAdNetwork became absolutely crucial as a solution that marketers can turn to for attribution of app installs and reinstalls for users who don't opt-in to tracking. It’s the highly skilled, data-driven UA teams that develop clever SKAdNetwork strategies that will come out on top.

Main drawbacks of SKAdNetwork

  • No real ROI/LTV – SKAdNetwork measures mostly installs, conversion values and post-install data, but in a very limited, time-restrictive way
  • Postback delay – Postbacks are delayed by at least 24 hours, limiting immediate campaign optimization
  • Post-install events are not passed on a granular level but with a 6-but system

However, despite these drawbacks you can still maximize the value of the SKAdNetwork data you do get:

  1. Choosing the Right Attribution Technology:

Although SKAdNetwork is still the only way to perform deterministic attribution on iOS, there are other technologies that can calculate number conversions in real time. These technologies count conversions using probabilistic attribution while respecting (or not accessing) users' personal information. Because this attribution is not deterministic, the advertisers are relying more on probability, however it is very accurate.

  1. Implementation of machine learning algorithms

Shopping app marketers need to find a way to still optimize their app install campaigns without relying on IDFA, and this is precisely where machine learning comes into play. Machine learning based advertising makes sense for both companies and users. The former asks for results, the latter for privacy; machine learning satisfies both. Advertisers need to leverage technology to find meaningful insights, predict outcomes and maximize the efficiency of their investment, by choosing the right channels and budget. This must also be done while complying with Apple's recent limitations and respecting user privacy. 

Mapendo is certified SKAdNetwork compliant and our machine learning powered technology is able to optimize app install campaigns run through SKAdNetwork in order to provide quality users and scalability.


With consumers spending more than 100 billion hours in shopping apps in 2021, this is a lucrative opportunity for marketers to optimize their mobile user acquisition strategy and drive this influx of users to their shopping app. In this increasingly competitive and multi-dimensional space, shopping app marketers that continue to make smart, data-driven, and UA lead decisions will gain the upper hand. Take it from us that by knowing your KPIs, experimenting with your creative strategies and optimizing your app install campaigns with machine learning you will achieve exactly that.