Digital could be “the next China” for the luxury industry, adding about $43 billion in sales through 2020, forecasts Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca. At the very least, luxe brands will need to be active on social media, as most consumers consult the Internet before spending, and many millennials trust peer reviews on social networks more than sales assistants, says Laurence-Anne Parent, a senior partner at consulting firm Advancy.
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The biggest hurdle is probably figuring out consumer’s spending habit. Offline, we would much rather enter to each individual luxury brand store one by one instead of being inundated with selections like in department stores as we edit those pieces with our eyes and touch. Online, we would much rather prefer collective luxury websites like net-a-porter or Mr. porter as we can sort items based on price, quality, or style preference.
In our opinion, with digital, there is a notion of time urgency, so anything that can make it practical and convenience is much preferred, whereas with traditional shopping, there is an idea of dedicated time and retail therapy factor in which it’s a leisurely thing to do to past time.
Luxury brands are so late to join in the e-commerce business that the idea, practice and habit of shopping online has been ingrained and shaped. We can only humbly guess that luxury brands move their products much faster in collective e-commerce sites than their own web sites. This has not yet mentioned the fact that luxury brand website’s flows, in general, seem not as seamless as it is archaic.