BRAG-ing About: Shopping Apps and the Cost-Conscious Consumer

Oct 12, 2022
By: Ravi Pimplaskar

Our BRAG Index II is out! The Brand Relative App Growth Index puts a lens on the relationship between brand and app growth for leading apps in major categories. Our “BRAG-ing About” blog will take a deeper look into Big Issues facing each category.

What’s on your holiday shopping list? For many U.S. consumers, this year that answer is “depends on what I can afford.” With economic concerns high, brands need to get creative to tap into cost-conscious customers. 

Do-it-all retailers, Walmart, Target, and Amazon ranked as a dominant top 3 in our Brand Power rankings of our BRAG Index II. With high Brand Power comes high consumer attention. Sure enough, these three are dominating headlines with pre-holiday promotions proving that there still are plenty of mobile shopping opportunities. Target ran Black Friday pricing for their Deal Days early in October. Amazon responded by running an unprecedented 2nd Prime Day this year on October 11-12th, giving people discounts on products across all categories. But they aren’t the only ones using creative promotions to drive interest with cost-conscious consumers.

SHEIN has found success by tapping into “fast fashion” — a trend that replicates catwalk and high-fashion styles at low costs… in other words, perfect for the fashionable cost-conscious. They have masterfully paired the fast fashion trend with TikTok influencers who proudly show off trunks of low-cost hip items with the hashtag #SHEINhauls. And consumers don’t even have to search for the items: they can simply click from the influencer’s channel and they are deeplinked to their products of choice! 

SHEIN has made their brand much more than a place for their consumers to shop. Their fans aren’t only going to SHEIN when they need a new outfit for a party — they’re shopping there because keeping up with SHEIN promotions allows them to stay stylish without breaking their wallet… and because it’s fun! 

In other words, SHEIN has made saving money a lifestyle. And that has staying power. Consider what Target does with Deal Days or Amazon Prime does with Prime Day. We don’t shop on those days because we need something — we do it because two brands we trust are offering us large discounts. SHEIN’s strategy might look different, but to compete against do-it-all retailers requires a different way of thinking. Just like Target fans flock to their app on Deal Days and Amazon consumers are placing orders on Prime Day, SHEIN consumers are ready to click when a #SHEINhaul happens on their favorite influencer channel.

Other brands are also tapping into cost-conscious mentalities to spur mobile growth. Klarna has used a growing “Buy Now, Pay Later” trend to lead our BRAG Index Brand Velocity rankings. Meanwhile, eBay and Etsy have found a path to growth through rich selling features – something that we found was highly related to cost-conscious shopping. 

Tapping into consumers through promos, flash sales, gifts, and other gimmicks will certainly drive app growth and use among cost-conscious audiences. Recently, we’ve also seen more name brands, like Nike and Lululemon use loyalty and rewards programs to attract customers. And with the holiday season coming up, we are sure more brands will follow suit! But while success during the holidays is one thing, long term loyalty strategies like SHEIN has found success with the Big 3 have mastered is the ultimate way for brands to win consumer attention.

Read more about who topped our BRAG Index II!

By Ravi Pimplaskar
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