The Effects of Adopting and Using a Brand's Mobile Application on Customers' Subsequent Purchase Behavior

Su Jung Kim*, Rebecca Jen Hui Wang, Edward C. Malthouse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


Mobile applications (apps) have become an important platform for brands to interact with customers, but few studies have tested their effects on app adopters' subsequent brand purchase behavior. This paper investigates whether adopters' spending levels will change after they use a brand's app. Using a unique dataset from a coalition loyalty program with implementations of propensity score matching and difference-in-difference-in-difference methods, we compare the spending levels of app adopters with those of non-adopters. Specifically, we examine whether the use of the app's two main interactive features-information lookups and check-ins-influences adopters' spending levels. We find that app adoption and continued use of the branded app increase future spending. Furthermore, customers who adopt both features show the highest increase. However, we also observe "the recency effect" - when customers discontinue using the app, their spending levels decrease. Our findings suggest that sticky apps which attract continuing uses can be a persuasive marketing tool because they provide portable, convenient, and interactive engagement opportunities, allowing customers to interact with the brand on a habitual basis. We recommend that firms should prioritize launching a mobile app to communicate with their customers, but they should also keep in mind that a poorly designed app, which customers abandon after only a few uses, may in fact hurt their brand experience and company revenues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-41
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Interactive Marketing
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Difference-in-difference-in-difference (DDD) model
  • Interactivity
  • Location check-ins
  • Log data
  • Mobile app
  • Propensity score matching
  • Purchase behavior
  • Stickiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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