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In an earlier post, we said apps are not an effective tool in driving sales. Our 2013 Digital IQ Index: Watches & Jewelry report found that of 137 apps developed by 49 brands in the category, only 54% received user reviews. Of those, 41% were rated three stars or less. Consumers have an average 44 apps on their phones, and 22% of apps are opened only once.

Auto brands continue to invest in apps despite the tepid response. 95% of the 42 brands studied in our 2013 Digital IQ Index: Auto report have a presence on iOS and 83% have an android app. Collectively, there are 400 unique apps in the category, or more than ten per brand. Meanwhile, less than half of smartphone users and a third of tablet users prefer apps to mobile sites.

Low visibility prevents many Auto apps from achieving desired popularity. Twenty-four percent of auto apps had no ratings a the time of the study, and 20 auto apps were featured in the Top Free Apps lists in other categories. Of the 10 highest rated apps, six are games (the hardest category to gain visibility in) and only one (Volkswagen’s “Sports Car Challenge”) has gained significant traction. It seems as if resources spent developing apps will continue to be ineffective unless Auto brands make their apps more desirable and easier to find.

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