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Retail app downloads and conversions hit new heights as brands engage and entertain during lockdown

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Retail app downloads have hit their second highest ever level this week and shopping conversion rates also continue to grow, according to the latest numbers from Poq.

Levels of app downloads last week peaked on the weekend of the 27-28 March, beating Cyber Monday 2019 and almost catching up with the record levels seen on the last Black Friday.

And shoppers are using the apps to buy, with retail conversions also spiking and showing a continued upwards trajectory. Session times on retail apps are bow consistently beating m-web – levels of use of which have also grown since the shops shut – with health and beauty seeing 4.33% rise in use compared to 3.02% on m-web.

Conversions from these app sessions are also up for retail as a whole, growing 10.59% compared to m-web on 3.94%. Fashion app conversions grew 10.56% over the week, compared to 3.61% growth in conversions on m-web.

“It is clear that people are still looking to browse and shop and apps now offer far more than just transactional facilities,” says Sam Rigg, Poq’s content marketing manager. “They are also full of content, app stories and more and are engaging and entertaining as well as somewhere to shop. People are bored and they want to shop but they also want to be inspired and entertained.”

The move to homeworking and social distancing is also seeing apps become more useful as a way to share inspiration, says Aanya Ali, Poq’s VP of marketing. She believes that what we are seeing is a move away from much of this appearing on Instagram to being part of the brand app – and the audience following.

“What we see now is a lot of clients using apps for tutorials, inspiration and ‘how to…’ content as that is what people want to see,” she says. “People showing how to dress to work at home, or sharing their new look home working work-space is interesting and builds a community around the brand. It also creates a lot of shoppable content.”

Ali believes that we will see more of this as consumers ally themselves to brands they identify with and which offer them solutions to their problems.

“For example, BeUnique is pushing via its app ‘the best face masks to wear if you have dry skin’ – this is really tapping into what is on its customer’s minds,” says Ali.

Brands are also using apps to showcase what they are doing to help in the crisis on a more philanthropic level – giving to charity, helping the NHS and other key workers – and this too is building community.

“People will flock to the brands that help them personally and which are helping society – and these brands will prosper now and after the crisis,” Ali concludes.

YouGov measures the bounce

This ’philanthropic bounce’ idea is backed up by YouGov research that finds that brands who have reacted well to the crisis and those which have make mistakes. BrewDog, whose joint founders have not only forgone their salaries this year to protect the workforce, is also making hand sanitiser – its YouGov BrandIndex scores have increased by an impressive 5.8 points since the 16th March.

Food delivery courier Deliveroo brought in no-contact delivery options to abide by social distancing rules, meaning many small restaurants were able to continue trading – this led to Deliveroo’s consideration scores increasing 3.5 points in 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, M&S’ creation of essential goods boxes, in-store social distancing initiatives and contact-free grocery delivery – again with Deliveroo – has seen its scores up by 9.1 points in just over a week. Similarly, Morrisons donated £10 million to food banks and brought in similar social distancing measures increasing their own buzz scores by 11.4 points.

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct blunder, however, saw its score fall from -3.9 to -39.2, according to BrandIndex.

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