A recent study measuring mobile use in 14 global markets revealed that just under half of the 15,000  surveyed have used their mobile device to make a purchase. Around the same proportion of people claimed to have engaged in comparative mobile browsing while in-store — aka “showrooming” — and that this influenced their final decision to buy. With convincing figures like these coming out almost every day, the head-scratching continues as to why so few brands are investing in mobile functionality. In our most recent study, Digital IQ Index: Hair Care & Color, just 47 percent of the 30 consumer brands assessed in the report currently have a mobile-optimized site; even more shocking, three of the brands with mobile-optimized sites fail to automatically direct mobile users to the correct version. To call this oversight a missed opportunity would be an understatement.

 

While more than one-fifth of global monthly searches for the 53 brands in the Index originate from a mobile device, only three — Ojon, Neutrogena, and WEN — have any kind of m-commerce capability. For mass consumer brands, where the most popular option is to integrate with larger retailers, just five (Aussie, Dove, Garnier, Nice ‘n Easy, and L’Oréal Paris) have optimized this hand-off process for mobile. As it is with Beauty, the monetary value of mobile’s influence on in-store sales continues to outpace actual m-commerce conversions. Our research shows that consumers who read product reviews on their mobile devices view 21 percent more pages per visit than those using a laptop, desktop, or tablet. This is why four out of every five Hair Care & Color brands’ mobile sites now provide user ratings and reviews–one of the few examples of strong, industry-wide digital performance.

 

When it comes to mobile app adoption rates, the Hair Care & Color field lags in comparison to other verticals. Less than one-quarter of the 30 consumer brands we analyzed have ever released an iPhone, iPad, or Android app. Among those that have, the apps lack updates, tend to highlight a single feature or product launch, and quickly lose relevance. Second-ranked Aveda is the exception: the salon brand’s are the only consumer-facing apps to integrate with users’ desktop accounts. Overall, with 44 percent of brands earning Challenged or Feeble Digital IQs in this year’s report, these lackluster mobile statistics are not surprising. Digitally, the Hair Care & Color industry has a minority of early-adopter innovators (read about one of them here) but is dominated by the slow-to-move, slow-to-optimize majority.

 

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