The Version Effect of Apps and Operating Systems in Mobile Commerce

Forthcoming, Production and Operations Management

39 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2020 Last revised: 19 Sep 2022

See all articles by Xingyue (Luna) Zhang

Xingyue (Luna) Zhang

University of Washington Tacoma

Ruomeng Cui

Emory University - Goizueta Business School

Yuliang Oliver Yao

University of Delaware

Date Written: August 31, 2022


Different versions of mobile operating systems or shopping apps enable different functionalities and information flows, thus creating various mobile shopping environments. In general, up-to-date versions provide better information flows and richer functionalities. 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 shopping app improves algorithms for better search accuracy. The former encourages consumers to explore and search, whereas the latter improves consumer search efficiency and reduces the chances for consumers to discover more products. Using a unique large-scale clickstream data set from a mobile commerce retailer, we examine the effect of mobile operating system and app 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 shopping app conduct more searches in terms of increased product page views and time spent on product pages, which results in a higher probability of consumer impulse purchase. Surprisingly, though more page views or time spent may boost purchases, we find that consumer search affects impulse purchases non-linearly in that page views and time spent have a decreasing rate of impact. Our computations show that using an up-to-date operating system increases consumer search activities by 60.45 product pages or 521.30 seconds spent browsing compared to using a previous operating system version. Using an up-to-date app decreases consumer search activities by 129.34 product pages or 1446.48 seconds spent browsing compared to using a previous mobile app version.

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 (August 31, 2022). Forthcoming, Production and Operations Management, Available at SSRN: or

Xingyue Zhang (Contact Author)

University of Washington Tacoma ( email )

1900 Commerce St
Tacoma, WA 18015
United States

Ruomeng Cui

Emory University - Goizueta Business School ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States


Yuliang Yao

University of Delaware ( email )

Newark, DE 19711
United States

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