Consumer mobile app usage hit a major milestone in November, registering more than one trillion unique events according to one study. While mobile app usage has grown 35% in 2012, consumers are watching T.V. and browsing the web at approximately the same rate that they did in 2011. Smart retailers have taken note, and are increasingly focusing marketing efforts to mobile campaigns.
This holiday season, for example, there are any number of mobile apps that allow consumers to compare prices amongst nearby retailers, receive special deals, receive floor plans of the stores at which they are shopping, and avoid checkout lines altogether. Macy’s mobile app sends shoppers special deals every five minutes the shopper remains in the store. Some drugstores now allow patrons to refill prescriptions by scanning the bottle using the drugstore’s mobile app.
All of these conveniences have not gone unnoticed by consumers. While 32% of consumers made holiday purchases in-store, and 19% purchased online using a computer, 47% of holiday purchases have been made using either a smartphone or tablet. 41% of mobile app purchases came after a consumer browsed products in-store.
And the risks associated with mobile apps go farther than potential privacy law or COPPA violations. Holland & Knight Partner, David Donoghue, regularly reports on the increasing number of patent troll cases targeting retailers for the use of mobile and related technology on his blog. Approximately 40% of all data breaches experienced by U.S. companies are a result of the loss or misuse of mobile devices, often by employees.
As mobile application usage continues to grow, it is clear that strong security measures and good counsel are critical to avoiding liability.