Providing a multi-channel shopping experience is becoming more and more important to the increasingly sophisticated online shopper. We have already seen that a number of retail categories, such as ‘groceries’ and ‘health and beauty’, that used to stick to the traditional sales and marketing channels, are flourishing online. Similarly, luxury fashion is predicted to be widely disrupted by international ecommerce over the coming years.
Although most luxury fashion brands are still slow movers when it comes to their online offerings, viewing their offline outlets as a way to maintain high brand value and exclusivity, the online opportunity for retailers operating in this segment are exponential.
One of the key factors that makes luxury fashion an online category worth exploring further, is the extraordinarily high demand for luxury products in China, as well as the solid online growth in mature markets, such as the UK, France and Germany.
So, it is a no surprise that global online sales for luxury fashion are expected to reach 17% of the total market by 2018, growing from only 3% today. By then, the online luxury fashion market is set be worth as much as €10.92 billion.
In a developed market such as the UK, where shopping online for luxury items is already well established, a further online growth of 18% is predicted annually within the category by 2018.
While the top online channels for British luxury shoppers are still the brand-owned sites, as well as those of department stores, such as Selfridges.com and Net-a-Porter.com, global e-marketplaces are ever increasing in popularity.
When making the decision to buy luxury fashion items online, Brits are predominantly looking for convenient returns policy and free shipping. So, these are two key factors online retailers should be considering before they embrace selling in this category.
According to a recent survey, British consumers would also be more willing to buy online, if they had an access to luxury fashion items that were not available in high-end stores (44%), and if online shops had exclusive luxury brands that nobody else sold online (41%).
As with the UK, a significant online surge within the luxury fashion segment is expected in the mature ecommerce market of Germany, where an annual growth of 12% is predicted within the category over the next three years.
As German consumers are generally accustomed to a high service from online retailing, when it comes to luxury they are even more demanding. This is an important consideration for retailers looking to tap into this category, as it explains why German luxury shoppers tend to have low levels of satisfaction with most of the luxury fashion e-stores they purchase from.
Other important factors that influence the online purchasing of luxury items in Germany include offering a convenient returns policy and free shipping.
Although, offering same-day delivery and personalised shopping experience are relatively unimportant to German luxury shoppers, the ability to order a product in two sizes, so that the one that does not fit can be returned, is a key purchasing driver for them.
It is also important to keep in mind that Germans highly value the option of having a localised online store, offering local payment options, converted sizing and customer service in German, especially when making online purchases.
In terms of luxury product selection, German consumers prefer designer products that do not need to be tried on, as it would be with designer clothing, for example. These include small leather goods, silk scarves, beauty products, handbags and fragrances.
If you follow our blogs, you will already know that China represents a fantastic ecommerce opportunity and a lucrative online channel for retailers operating across different segments.
So, it is a no surprise that online luxury fashion is expected to surge over next few years, reaching a whopping growth rate of 70% by 2018.
Chinese consumers’ high disposable incomes and growing appetite for foreign luxury brands, coupled with the extremely high internet penetration in the country and the fast-evolving online shopping habits that now fully embrace mobile, make China the world’s largest online market for luxury goods.
As young Chinese professionals and wealthy middle-aged consumers grow in sophistication and become increasingly comfortable to interact with luxury fashion brands on mobile, retailers operating in this segment should also focus on providing a fully integrated mobile experience for their customers.
E-marketplaces are the preferred channels for Chinese consumers looking to purchase luxury fashion items online, so retailers willing to provide a remarkable shopping experience for their buyers cannot afford to ignore platforms such as Tmall.com, JD.com and VIP.com.
Let us develop a tailored solution for your business that will help you reach new international customers and grow your global sales.get in touch