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Consumers' Expectations High for Luxury Brands on Mobile

The highest percentage of high-end consumers expect luxury apps to include a loyalty program

Luxury brands have been slow to the mobile party, with marketers steering clients toward traditional brick-and-mortar locations where products could be displayed in elegant surroundings and customers were treated to an impeccable shopping experience. But luxury brands are making up for lost time, according to a new eMarketer report, “Luxury Marketing: Recreating the One-on-One Experience with Mobile.”

In an August Martini Media survey of digital agencies with luxury brand experience, 43% of respondents said their luxury clients were moving more quickly to digital advertising than their mass-market accounts. And 68% of digital marketers said they expected their use of mobile formats to increase in 2012 vs. 2011.

The changes come as affluent consumers have been enthusiastically using their mobile devices to research products, make purchases and connect with brands. And the introduction of tablets—the iPad chief among them—has boosted rich-media display capabilities, giving luxury marketers a more compelling platform for showcasing products and inviting interaction.

In a July 2012 study of 234,000 mobile device users, comScore MobiLens found smartphone and tablet penetration steadily increased as income increased.

Moreover, compared to the general population of smartphone owners, affluents are buying more frequently, according to comScore MobiLens. In a survey of smartphone owners who were asked about shopping activity on their smartphones during July 2012, 18.9% said they had purchased goods or services. That number rose to 20.6% for shoppers in the $100,000-plus income bracket.

Because luxury consumers demand special services, brands moving to mobile must figure out how to use apps to extend their relationship with the customer.

A survey from the first quarter of 2012 by the Luxury Institute and Plastic Mobile asked affluent smartphone owners who had downloaded or planned to download a mobile app what features they expected from a luxury brand’s app. It found that loyalty programs (46%) and early access to sales (45%) were the leading features these consumers anticipated a luxury brand mobile app would provide.

Affluent consumers expect the same level of service from an app as they do from an in-store experience. It’s a win-win for luxury marketers if they can translate the mobile touchpoint into sales.


The full report, “Luxury Marketing: Recreating the One-on-One Experience with Mobile,” also answers these key questions:

  • How are marketers recreating the personalization of in-store shopping with mobile and tablet experiences?
  • What is the point of differentiation for luxury brands with mobile?
  • How often do luxury shoppers use their phones and tablets to shop?
  • How has the iPad changed luxury marketers’ perceptions of mobile marketing?
  • How can luxury brands best leverage the capabilities of mobile? What are some of the more innovative mobile marketing campaigns?
  • How can a brand use mobile to maintain an ongoing relationship with its customers?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.


Check out today’s other articles, “Unilever Uses Digital Video to Spotlight Today's Evolving Man” and “Nascent Mcommerce in China Shows Explosive Growth.”

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