Survey Shows Mobile Web Gets Priority Over Mobile Apps In 2013

As companies work hard to deliver multichannel digital experiences (DX) to their customers, questions persist. A big question: Which channels (and, by extension, which development strategies) should we prioritize for our DX initiatives? Recent Forrester survey data provides some guidance by indicating which channels DX professionals say are top of mind in 2013.

A focus on traditional web sites remains the highest priority, cited by 80% of organizations, according to data in Forrester’s March 2013 Global Digital Experience Delivery Online Survey. (Forrester colleague Anjali Yakkundi dives deep into the survey data and its implications in her The State of Digital Customer Experience Technology, 2013 report.)

But when it comes to addressing the mobile imperative, respondents indicate two distinct layers of prioritization.

The focus on building mobile web experiences is measurably higher than the focus on developing purpose-built mobile applications. See the accompanying chart to witness the gulf between organizations extending a web experience to tablets and smartphones, over those creating specific web apps typically developed to support more specific tasks or functions.

Many organizations tell us that they’ve shifted their mobile strategy away from creating specific apps built for iOS and Android devices, unless and until they have a compelling reason to create a custom app experience.

In place of apps, alternate web development techniques, such as responsive web design, have found a growing cadre of adherents. In the case of responsive web, organizations can create a single code base that will support multiple size viewports and device types (larger and smaller than a traditional desktop website) with a consistent, similar experience. It’s one way for companies to deliver a multichannel digital experience.

Prioritization decisions vary for a multitude of reasons. What’s your take? Use the comments section to tell us where you company is focusing its mobile and multichannel efforts in 2013, and why. What has been successful at your organization? How have customers responded?


This summary makes total

This summary makes total sense: "Many organizations tell us that they’ve shifted their mobile strategy away from creating specific apps built for iOS and Android devices, unless and until they have a compelling reason to create a custom app experience."

I recently wrote my own thoughts on this: HTML5 vs. Native applications for the enterprise (

Thanks for sharing this research.

Thanks for sharing this research. Your findings are a reflection of the advantages of mobile websites in the process of search and discovery. If mobile websites are about putting your brand's best foot forward and generating new leads, native apps are only a logical next step if (as you state) only if there is a compelling reason. Apps are more difficult to build and maintain and they silo content rather than making content accessible to any device and to search engines. We're excited to see marketers prioritizing mobile web now more than ever.

I just stumbled across your

I just stumbled across your blog as I was searching on Yahoo. I want to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on your blog. I will be sure to bookmark your website for future reading.

Responsive tackles all devices at once

We focus on responsive design at Happy Dog ( and our clients have been very happy with it. Responsive still requires thinking of the mobile user and what information they're going to what to see on their device. We're not really getting into the app development craze for anyone, although it is sometimes the best option for companies who will have returning customers and who would value the convenience of an app to store information or personalize their experience. It depends on the business!

mostly we focus on mobile and

mostly we focus on mobile and their applictions because it is the age of apps no body want to have featureless equipments that are not in fashion. Business needs exposure and websites are typically the go-to source for a rewarding marketing arrangement; however, as mobile interaction and developments amplify over time we are beginning to see a shift in this trend. phone is not just for talking anymore we rely on our phone to also tell us where to go, how to get there, what to do, and how to do it. Mobile phones can solve just about any problem for us, so the general population has naturally grown a dependency on its operations.

responsive web vis-a-vis native mobile apps

Hi David,

Good taster of the report. It would be of interest to know the industries and company sizes of the 233 decision makers who were part of this survey.

As someone who has managed multichannel strategy for a large corporate and now started own small business focusing specially on customer experience, I would encourage readers to reason why organisations would invest more in responsive web compared to native apps. My personal view is that this choice is driven by two key external factors and two strategic internal factors. The internal factors are the usual suspects - a) the budget, and b) the technology (maintenance, integration, support,...)
To be a bit more clear, the responsive designs cost less money to develop, maintain and integrate. And, they use more or less the same or similar infrastructure and technology like the traditional web sites and are scalable and quicker to deploy or change. At the same time, they also share the same risks as traditional web sites, i.e. security, data storage, ... Because of this technology overlap the development and operational costs are relatively lower.

The external factors influencing the decision makers are - a) mobile devices, and b) general market trends
Again, to be precise, with apple, samsung, google, nokia, htc and whoever keep launching new device standards like 10.1", 7", 3G, 4G, 4GS,... smartphones, tablets, mini tablets did I hear watches as well somewhere(?!)... so, in the economic climate, asking management to consistently spend budget only on adaptation to new devices and not adding a NEW feature is a no brainer NO NO. On the other hand, the responsive designs, if developed correctly with scalability in mind, makes the customer experience future device proof and at NO extra cost.

Just my two cents!