To understand what makes BuzzFeed tick, you need to know how Dao Nguyen thinks about data.
L2’s Digital IQ Index®: Beauty reveals an industry rapidly growing in sophistication. Three out of four Index brands earned spots in the Gifted or Average categories, reflecting increased digital investments in the form of retailer partnerships, omnichannel initiatives, and influencer relationships. As in 2014, Color Cosmetics and Multi-category brands netted the highest Digital IQs; in contrast, Fragrance brands trail behind due to creative and licensing red tape.
When e-commerce brands make the leap to brick-and-mortar, they often avoid the term “store” – no surprise given the rhetoric about retail’s decline. Instead, customers are lured to “showrooms” and “clubhouses,” which promise experiences as much as transactions.
Whatever e-tailers choose to call them, stores are good investments that increase site traffic, boost financial returns, and set evolved retailers apart from their pureplay counterparts. L2’s Intelligence Report: Death of Pureplay Retail features several creative alternatives to the conventional store:
Men’s grooming brand Harry’s expanded its thriving online business with the Cornershop, a New York City barbershop offering haircuts, shaves, beard trims, and Harry’s shaving products. Despite being ahead of the curve in digital e-commerce (customers book appointments online and use the “cut archive” app to record their preferences for future visits) the company cultivates a more old-school image. The website describes the venue as a “neighborhood shop” where customers can “build long-lasting relationships” – dovetailing neatly with the message of old-fashioned quality which helped the brand become a major disruptor in the shaving industry.
Trunk Club’s “clubhouse”
While digital shoppers rate the ability to see, touch, and try merchandise as the most important motivator for in-store shopping, free drinks would likely be on the same level. That’s what customers receive at Trunk Club’s Chicago “clubhouse,” which features a 5,000 square-foot roof deck and a 40-foot bar stocked with complimentary beverages; customers are encouraged to relax and enjoy a drink before meeting with a Trunk Club stylist. The luxury vibe fits the image of the men’s clothing retailer, which began in 2009 by sending subscribers curated “trunks” from which they could select the apparel they liked. Clubhouse shoppers benefit from bonuses such as the ability to request custom clothing.
Casper’s “Snooze Bar”
Mattress brand Casper’s Washington D.C. “Snooze Bar” gives a new meaning to “Shop till you drop.” Customers can schedule appointments to nap on Casper mattresses and enjoy coffee and waffles by day and cocktails by night. These investments not only introduce shoppers to Casper products – overcoming their reluctance to buy online – but also differentiate the company from pureplay brands offering similar products, such as Saatva and Tuft and Needle.
In 2015, more searches occurred on mobile devices than desktop for the first time, and mobile began to account for the largest share of digital ad spending in the U.S. L2’s Insight Report: Best of Mobile pinpoints seven brands that were pioneers in mobile this year, from Fashion and Beauty to Specialty Retail and Big Box.
Top 7 Brands in Mobile http://www.l2inc.com/top-7-brands-in-mobile/2016/blog
Home to the first-ever app blockbuster, Angry Birds, and current chart stalwarts Supercell and Spotify, Europe has played a starring role in the mobile app revolution. In fact, just this month Swedish gaming house King Digital Entertainment sold to Activision Blizzard for a staggering $5.9B. All this in mind, we thought it was high time we took a deep dive into mobile app activity on the continent, as we have done in the past for other areas around the globe.
Flurry from Yahoo currently tracks over 725,000 apps across 564 million devices in Europe. All Europeans love their smart devices, but there are marked differences in usage and preferences across the continent. Let’s take a look.
Sweden Leads in Smart Device Penetration; Italy Lags
For this analysis, we focused on the top 10 European countries by total population: Russia, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Ukraine, Poland, and Sweden. We next compared the total population and Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of these countries, to the number of iOS and Android devices Flurry Analytics tracked in each of these countries throughout October 2015. GNI is a measure of a country’s wealth, as calculated by the World Bank in constant US dollars.
Unsurprisingly, smart device penetration is highest in the north. Sweden has the highest smart device penetration with 150% smart device penetration, or 1.5 devices for every man, woman and child in the kingdom. This is followed by The Netherlands at 136% and the UK at 130%. France clocks in at 81% penetration, followed by Germany at 77%, and Spain at 74%. Given the ratio of minors to adults in these nations, the data implies that almost every adult has a smart device.
Italy is the exception, with the lowest smart device penetration of any country in Western Europe at 66%. Russians on the other hand, are willing to spend more of their income on smart devices, bumping their penetration up to 75%, despite a low GNI.
Spain Joins the Phablet Revolution; Small Phones Near Extinction
So, what devices are actually in-use? To better understand their composition, we looked at the distribution of form factor types based on a sample of 100k Android and iOS devices in each country. As a reminder, we classify devices as follows:
As we reported previously, there has been a global revolution in phablet adoption and we see that Europe is not far behind the global trend. Spain is clearly leading the charge in Europe with 37% phablet share. Other countries are continuing to grow adoption with each having over 20% of their devices belonging to that optimum size: small enough for users to carry in their pockets and large enough to engage in reading and entertainment.
Consistent with the global trend, small phones have been nearly wiped off the map in Europe. Small tablets, like the iPad Mini, haven’t really caught on anywhere but the UK. It’s clear that like in the rest of the world, European consumers are becoming increasingly smitten with larger screen sizes.
Session Growth Still in Double-Digits for Western Europe
And how are Europeans engaging with increasingly larger devices? Looking at the number of sessions generated by each country, year-over-year, is a good indicator of mobile activity growth. Based on the apps that Flurry tracks, the global average growth in sessions from October 2014 to October 2015 was 64%. The US, for comparison, posted 52% growth, while emerging economies like Brazil and India posted gains of 189% and 107%, respectively.
In Europe, the growth of France and Spain is on par with global average at 63% and 61%, respectively. The UK and Germany’s year-over-year growth lags the global average and that of the US at 36% and 28%, respectively, which is not uncommon in more mature markets.
Italy again is the outlier at 31% growth, which is not surprising given the relatively lower penetration rate of smart devices in that country. It’s interesting to note that the app session growth in Vatican City is higher than the Italian average at 36%.
A Continent Divided: Gamers vs. Chatters
To understand what is driving all that activity in Europe, we examined which app categories users spent the most time in.
The British and French spend almost twice as much of their time in messaging and social apps, versus in games, at approximately 40% of total app time. Italy, on the other hand, spends the lowest percentage of their time in Messaging and Social, perhaps because only 66% of the population can be messaged via smartphone.
Germans, Italians and the Spanish spend nearly one-third of their app time in gaming apps. Despite their love for gaming, users in Italy also spend a significant share of their app time in Utilities & Productivity apps (18%) which is twice the share that users in France dedicate to the category (9%).
Music, Media & Entertainment apps seem to hold the same interest in users irrespective of the borders, around 10% of their app time.
Europe Picks Up Bigger Phones; Apps Continue to Entertain
Although Western Europe was amongst the group of early adopters in the app revolution, this growth shows no sign of slowing down, as market usage continues to climb into the double digits. Some countries have even surpassed more than one device for every man, woman, and child.
Similar to the US, Europeans don’t use their phones in their 9-to-5s; dedicating just 12% percent of their time to productivity apps. While the US has seen a major decline in mobile gaming, this category still represents nearly one-third of app time in major European markets.