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Upscale Brands Lag in Mobile Apps

By Scott Galloway, Clinical Professor of Marketing

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Mobile competence may be a crystal ball for a brand’s global prospects

Luxury retailers have been super-slow to go mobile, according to a new study by digital think tank L2. That means consumers with Web-capable mobile devices are likely to be frustrated if they try to buy upscale products when they’re on the move.

Prestige brands need to step up their hand-held presence, says Scott Galloway, NYU Stern clinical professor of marketing and founder of L2. “Mobile competence may be a crystal ball for a brand’s global prospects,” he warns.

Brands were measured against more than 250 data points across four dimensions: Mobile Sites, Mobile Apps, Mobile Marketing, and Innovation & Integration. Each brand was assigned a Mobile IQ and a corresponding class of Genius, Gifted, Average, Challenged, or Feeble.

In the study, Prestige 100 Mobile IQ, nearly half of the top 100 fashion, beauty, retail, hospitality, and watch and jewelry brands were rated “feeble.” The distribution reveals a “significant, widespread underinvestment in mobile,” according to the study.

Not all prestige brands have their heads in the sand. Cosmetics retailer Sephora ranked first in mobile savvy, followed by Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Net-a-Porter, and Bloomingdale’s. They enable consumers to shop, search products and access user reviews.

“Ground zero for growth in prestige exists among consumers who are increasingly turning to a small screen to learn about, and ultimately consummate, purchases from prestige brands,” says Galloway.