L2’s Digital IQ Index: Personal Care finds that brand-owned apps are rare. Just 18% of brands have an iOS app, and just 13% have an Android app. Part of that has to do with the unpopularity of brand apps; L2’s Intelligence Report: Mobile & Tablet finds that three-quarters of time spent on mobile apps is spent on Facebook, gaming, social messaging and YouTube. The average number of ratings across all apps, 175, or 0.38 ratings per day, underscores the low popularity.

Personal Care brands the option of participating in third-party couponing apps, a strategy that has been more popular and successful. Target has a cartwheel app with close to 3,000 ratings, and Shopkick has more than 77,000 on iTunes. And 32% of brands are present on Target Cartwheel while 13% are present on Shopkick, an iBeacon-enabled app that gives spending points to consumers if they visit nearby stores.

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The strategy of offering coupons through third-party apps is smart, given that 47% of consumers are likely to try a new brand if they receive a coupon while in-store. Yet, more brands need to follow the customers. For example, fewer brands participate in Shopkick even though it has 25x the reviews of Target’s Cartwheel app.

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