Although mobile site adoption among Beauty brands has steadily increased year to year, our latest Digital IQ Index on the industry shows that since 2011, mobile app development has stagnated. Or declined, as in the case of the iPhone, which has seen a 14 percent drop over the last two years. With everything shifting toward mobile, especially in retail, these figures may come as a surprise. One of the contributors is likely lack of user interest. To date, 40 percent of Beauty-exclusive iPhone apps have fewer than 10 ratings on iTunes, with 60 percent earning mediocre reviews of three-stars or less. With app development a pricey investment, not to mention all the successive costs to regularly update content and technology features, it makes sense that many brands are questioning the ROI of offering a mobile app.
Contrary to the smartphone app, Beauty shoppers have embraced the tablet experience with open arms and open wallets. Today, 43 percent of consumers use tablets to research Beauty purchases (besting smartphones by almost 10 percent), and they are also more likely to use a tablet than any other device to make a repeat Beauty purchase. To capitalize on this behavior, some Beauty brands have integrated the tablet/store experience, though few have budgeted for a distinct tablet experience–just three brands out of the 85 in our Index (Chanel, Proactiv and Shiseido) currently offer one. The rest, either divert to a mobile site (6 percent) or overwhelmingly, to a desktop site (91 percent). And though the tablet is clearly a channel of growing influence and importance for Beauty, less than a third of brand sites feature swipeable content, 31 percent include desktop-functional diagnostic tools that are unusable on tablets, and 18 percent of e-commerce-enabled brand sites still don’t support cart continuity to the tablet.
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