Mobile is the now and next when it comes to commerce, social media, basic communication, even TV watching, according to new data released today by the Pew Research Center. From the tablet frenzy of the past few years to Facebook finally relenting on its pro-site stance and accommodating mobile features–most recently, last week with Timeline–everyone from the individual to the community to the brands is transitioning to a more mobile lifestyle. There are stragglers, of course, as there always are. When it comes to luxury brands, the bag is mixed. When it comes to fragrance brands, however, the bag isn’t even mixed, it’s across-the-board feeble. As revealed in the research in our latest Digital IQ Index: Fragrance report, mobile adoption among the 63 brands included in the study was the lowest of any luxury vertical we’ve measured.
As a comparison, in our Prestige 100® Mobile IQ report released earlier this year, we found that two-thirds of luxury brands (across fashion, beauty, watches & jewelry, specialty retail and hotels) maintain an active mobile site. This is nearly 4x the rate among fragrance brands, only 17 percent of which currently have a mobile presence. And for those that do have mobile sites or mobile apps, the percentage of those that offer e-commerce functionality is even more dismal: under 5 percent. Unlike most luxury items, fragrance is relatively reasonably priced, usually under $50 or $100. A steal, compared to say, a $2,295 Marc Jacobs dress or $7,500 pair of Bulgari earrings. Given fragrance’s attainability and the increasingly mobile shopping habits of Americans, particularly affluent Americans, for major brands to completely neglect the mobile platform isn’t just lazy, it’s reckless to shareholders.
Also egregious is the fragrance industry’s general lack of geo-local priority. More than almost any other product, fragrance requires more than just a quick glance prior to purchase. Sure, there are some who do the instant gratification buy based on the packaging, celebrity endorsement and/or word of mouth, but for the rest of us, we want to smell our scent before buying, maybe even spritz it on our wrists and neck, walk around for a bit and smell it again after it’s settled. To accommodate this, all fragrance brands or licensees would need to do is coordinate where their scents are sold (Sephora, Nordstrom, Vera Wang boutique, etc.) with Foursquare or another geo-local app, so this information is easily findable for potential buyers.