L2 released today the Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail, which assesses the digital competence of 82 specialty retail brands in the US. Perhaps one of the most surprising report findings is that the category continues to prosper despite predictions of its death. The graph below from the study shows specialty retail stocks trading at close to double the price of the S&P 500.


How do specialty retailers do it? Holiday store traffic has been halved since 2010, youth unemployment continues to rise, and 15% of what malls carry is now purchased online. Yet, just a fifth of public companies reported store closures. E-commerce sites have been specialty retail’s savior, but not in the way predicted. As shown below, online browsers outpace online shoppers.


Over the last three years, online site metrics have been deteriorating. Bounce rates are up 20% and time on site is down a minute, mostly due to those online browsers who may convert offline. Brands have been changing their e-commerce site strategy to facilitate offline conversion, slowly. For example, just 33% of specialty retailers allow visitors to check inventory on PCs and tablets, and just 14% enable the feature to mobile site. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail assesses the digital competency of 82 specialty retail brands in the US market. For more on these brands’ omnichannel, mobile, and e-commerce strategies, download the report excerpt.

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