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Mobile User Acquisition

The BRAG Blog: How Shopping Apps Keep Up With Amazon

The BRAG Index, or Brand Relative App Growth Index, is a first of its kind report released by Digital Turbine and Apptopia in May 2022. The BRAG Index measures a brand’s app installs against its brand funnel (defined as consumer awareness and install intent) to find brands that had app growth that transcended its market presence. 

The BRAG Blog gives you deeper insight into our findings. Read the full report here.

The Large Retailer Effect

Despite our consumer survey being done in the beginning of Q4 (what most consider peak shopping season because of the holidays), shopping apps ended up with extremely low intent to install – which drove low brand funnels across the board. A key reason for this is the presence of 3 do-it-all large retailers in Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Awareness for all 3 exceeded 77%. For comparison, no other app in the category had awareness over 57%.

With people already aware (and perhaps already having these apps on their phones), intent to install on the average was 2.2% for shopping apps – the lowest of ANY category. And even this number was propped up by the Big 3 whose intent to install were higher than any other apps in the category except for Nike (more on them later). As a result, this category featured the largest number of true potential breakout apps. But could any of them really take on the likes of Amazon?

What’s in the Box?

The large retailers performed adequately enough with Amazon and Walmart ending up with the two largest install volumes in our research period. However, the next 3 in total installs were brands that were relative unknowns when the period began: SHEIN, Shop, and Klarna.

Along with these “Transcenders”, the Shopping category featured the most “Builder” brands with 8 indicating that it’s a category largely of a few dominant players and many still trying to break into the market. It remains to be seen whether the growth seen by some of these smaller apps will pull them closer to Amazon and the other category leaders.

How Certain Apps Won

There were two key themes of apps that performed well on our BRAG Index:

  1. They had the lure of saving money 
  2. They integrated themselves into the checkout process of other retailers

And let’s face it, we’re a deal-oriented society that loves simplicity. So it’s no surprise that this drove success in this space. Here’s a closer look at what three apps did:

SHEIN: Our BRAG Index Shopping Leader topped every app not named Amazon and Walmart in installs. And they did this with an awareness of only 20% and app install intent of 1.7%. But #SHEINhauls became a common trend on TikTok and with celebrity influencers as they would model full wardrobes of clothing that they would get from the affordable retailer. The bump in popularity saw the retailer end the period with a valuation of $100 billion!

Klarna: Despite a non-existent install intent and 16% awareness, Klarna ended up with the 5th most installs in the category. Smart partnerships with Stripe and Wix enabled merchants to easily integrate Klarna into the checkout process. This put them forth as an option to hundreds of thousands of shoppers that would download the app for installment payments for purchases they were already making.

Fetch Rewards: Fetch was identified as a potential breakout app when we released our “App-ortunity” report for shopping apps in December. Sure enough, the turn your receipts into savings app achieved Transcender status thanks to expanding its offering to include restaurants right before our research period started.

What’s Next?

One app that fell short of expectations was Nike, whose large brand funnel was driven by an intent to install of 7.7% – easily the highest in the category! While Nike performed well during the holiday season, installs dropped off dramatically in Q1. However, Nike has created a digital ecosystem of 4 apps – 2 of which are shopping. Plus their products are available in other apps across the mobile landscape. Nike’s digital footprint remains strong, and with their brand power we still expect them to hold strong in awareness and install intent moving forward.

As for the other apps, we’ll see if the strategies from our Transcenders managed to pull their name recognition in the stratosphere of the Amazons of the world. SHEIN certainly did a lot to prop up their brand name over the last 6 months. Other apps, like Klarna and Shop, found their success in more “behind the scenes” ways – which may require continued reliance on their creativity and partnerships to drive growth.

Stay tuned later in the week as we take a deeper look at Streaming Video apps!

By Ravi Pimplaskar

Storyteller

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