The Version Effect of Apps and Operating Systems in Mobile Commerce

36 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2020 Last revised: 8 Dec 2021

See all articles by Xingyue Luna Zhang

Xingyue Luna Zhang

University of Washington Tacoma

Ruomeng Cui

Goizueta Business School, Emory University

Yuliang Oliver Yao

Lehigh University

Date Written: December 24, 2020


Different mobile operating system or shopping app versions enable different functionality and information flow, thus creating various mobile shopping environments. In general, up-to-date versions provide better information flows and richer functionality. However, mobile operating systems and shopping apps affect consumer behavior through different mechanisms. An up-to-date mobile operating system reduces the system response time, while an up-to-date mobile shopping app improves algorithms for better search accuracy or cross selling. The former encourages consumer search, whereas the latter improves consumer search efficiency and reduces consumer search effort. Using a unique large-scale clickstream data set from a mobile commerce retailer, we examine the effect of mobile shopping app and mobile operating system versions on consumer search and impulse purchase behaviors in mobile commerce. Our results show that consumers with an up-to-date mobile operating system or a previous version of a mobile shopping app conduct more searches in terms of increased product page views and time spent on product pages, which in turn results in higher consumer impulse purchase probability. However, consumers' search effort regarding individual products is not affected by versions. Surprisingly, though more page views or time spent may boost purchases, we find consumer search affects impulse purchases in a non-linear fashion in that page views and time spent have a decreasing rate of impact. Our computations show that when compared to using a previous mobile operating system version, using an up-to-date operating system increases consumer search activities by 60.45 product pages or 521.30 seconds spent browsing. In comparison, when compared to using a previous mobile app version, using an up-to-date app decreases consumer search activities by 129.34 product pages or 1446.48 seconds spent browsing.

Keywords: Mobile Commerce, Mobile Shopping App, Mobile Operating System, Consumer Behavior

Suggested Citation

Zhang, Xingyue and Cui, Ruomeng and Yao, Yuliang, The Version Effect of Apps and Operating Systems in Mobile Commerce (December 24, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Xingyue Zhang (Contact Author)

University of Washington Tacoma ( email )

1900 Commerce St
Tacoma, WA 18015
United States

Ruomeng Cui

Goizueta Business School, Emory University ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States


Yuliang Yao

Lehigh University ( email )

621 Taylor Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
United States

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