Luxury Institute Global Affluent Survey Shows Online Shopping More Popular Than Ever, While Stores Remain Focus Of High-End Sales

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – February 06, 2018) – From only a fringe of total luxury sales one decade ago, online shopping continues to gain widespread adoption among high-income consumers who report that 38% of their luxury spending takes place on computers or mobile devices. Nonetheless, the physical store remains the preferred place to make a purchase for a majority of shoppers, according to New York-based Luxury Institute’s 2018 State of the Luxury Industry annual survey of affluent consumers from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, and Mexico.

While 52% of high-income consumers prefer buying luxury products in a brick-and-mortar store, 21% prefer doing so online, and 27% have no preference for either channel. The preference gap continues to narrow in favor of online shopping. Compared to results from the 2017 State of the Luxury Industry survey, preference for in-store shopping declined by two percentage points, while preference for online shopping gained two percentage points.

Even as online commerce gains traction, the in-store experience remains the driver of company revenue. Affluent consumers from around the world say that 60% of their luxury spending is done in stores: 36% in brand boutiques, and 24% in department stores.

Product availability is the factor that matters most to consumers when they decide where they want to shop, both online and in-store. When shopping online, other important features that affluent consumers want to receive from luxury brands are free delivery and returns on goods purchased, and the ability to reserve a product online for purchase in­store. For in-store shopping, helpful sales professionals and exclusive offers are high-prized by high-income consumers.

Respondents indicated a strong preference for having luxury brands put technology to use in ways that make their lives easier. Among the most popular applications which affluent consumers say provides them value are order summaries and receipts sent via email (60%), price matching and comparative apps (60%), free Wi-Fi within the store to compare prices (54%), and call centers that assist with online purchases and field questions (51%). Half (50%) of respondents want to have sales professionals with iPads for quicker order processing and checkout, and 49% appreciate fitting room technology such as interactive mirrors.

“One of the biggest trends now underway is that the in-store experience is finally getting the focus it deserves in terms of upgrading technology, developing people, and redesigning inventory management and merchandising to elevate the customer experience,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Companies are increasingly adopting seamless integration between online and in-store channels, which is wonderful because it benefits consumers and provides new opportunities for front-line store teams.”

Survey respondents were drawn from households with minimum gross annual income of $150,000 per year in the United States. Respondents from other nations ranked among the top 10% of earners in their respective countries with the following minimum income thresholds in local currency: United Kingdom (£60,000); France, Germany, Italy (EUR50,000); China (1 million CNY); Japan (¥150 million); and Mexico (2 million MXN).

The complete 2018 State of the Luxury Industry study is available for purchase. For full rankings and ratings, with additional insights from this and other WealthSurvey reports, visit www.LuxuryInstitute.com, or contact Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza (mpedraza@luxuryinstitute.com).

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