Web v Apps Debate is Irrelevant, says Forrester

In a multi-device, multi-platform world, brands are deciding where to put their scarce mobile development funds, often choosing between a mobile-optimised website or an app. But according to new Forrester data, it’s not an either/or choice, as consumers are using both. More than half of European and 60 per cent of US consumers who download apps at least monthly also access the internet via their mobile phones at least daily. In fact, the more frequently consumers access the mobile internet, the more they download and use apps – and vice versa.

“Moving forward, both technologies will improve over time, but will continue to coexist,” writes Forrester analyst, and author of the report, Thomas Husson in a blog post. “Apps will benefit from mass-market smartphone penetration, but a majority of consumers across the globe will access the internet, not apps. Mobile browsing technologies will improve significantly. Device-centric information like location increasingly can pass to the browser, while better user experiences and more rich-media-centric mobile websites are now available. HTML5 will greatly improve the audio and video capabilities of mobile browsers.”

Husson cautions, however, that it will be at least three years before the technology fully matures, noting that it has to reach critical mass on consumers’ mobile handsets and in developers’ minds.

The report also reveals that 36 per cent of European mobile phone owners planning to switch to a new device see apps as a key feature; that app usage focuses on a few key categories, namely Music, Gaming, Social Networking, Navigation/Mapping, and Weather; and that overall mobile internet adoption grew from 32 per cent of European online consumers in 2009, to 43 per cent in 2010.

You can read the full blog post here.