Cross-border online sales of luxury goods defied diminishing consumer confidence to increase 17% in the first six months of 2022, the latest research from ESW, the global DTC ecommerce company reveals.
According to ESW’s Global Voices: Consumer Pulse 2022 survey of more than 14,000 consumers across fourteen countries, despite ongoing economic uncertainty, geo-political instability, and the resulting downward pressure on household budgets, a fifth of consumers (21%) purchased luxury goods internationally – led by shoppers living in China (46%), South Korea (36%) and the UAE (34%)..
Handbags and accessories (44%), clothing (42%) and jewellery (39%) were the most popular luxury product categories shopped cross-border. Globally, international sales of handbags and accessories and jewellery were higher than those in domestic markets (40% and 33% respectively) with shoppers citing satisfaction with previous cross-border purchases (31%) and a lack of availability in their home-markets (27%) as being the key drivers behind their decision to purchase from international luxury brands.
In a sign of the ongoing shift away from the traditional luxury flagship store model, as consumers prioritise access to product, the majority of cross-border luxury purchasers (70%) say they are happy to forego the in-store experience to receive their products quickly by purchasing online. However, discerning customers still have high expectations of digital commerce with 79% saying they expect the exceptional, personalised customer service experienced in-store to be replicated online.
Natashia Redfern, VP UK Country Sales Director at ESW, commented: “Luxury continues its ascent as cross-borders’ best performing category with this latest reported increase of +16% even more impressive considering our research shows sales in this category grew 50% in 2021. This showcases the impressive work luxury retailers have put in to recreate the in-store brand experience online to win conversions and customer loyalty. Additionally, brands and retailers must take note, the data clearly shows a positive previous cross-border purchasing experience is the key driver for engendering customer loyalty and repeat purchasing long-term.”
Globally, the UK is the second most popular market for cross-border purchasing of luxury goods (32%), second only to the US (56%) and ahead of the traditional luxury markets of France (29%) and Italy (25%). British luxury products were purchased most frequently from shoppers in the UAE and China (both 40%), India (39%) and Japan (38%).
Redfern commented: “The ongoing success of cross-border luxury sales highlights the need for British luxury brands to find routes to those highest value shoppers globally who have a passion for their products and who want to engage with and buy directly from them.”
“For those brands that don’t have the digital capabilities, expertise or capital required to fully leverage direct to consumer opportunities, ESW offers a seamless end-to-end solution that helps brands unlock global demand,” she added.
Brands deploying ESW’s Fluency and Symphony DTC solutions can enter both domestic and new international markets in a matter of weeks, many times faster than if they attempted to do so on their own and access a suite of market-leading ecommerce solutions across store, pricing, payments, checkout, fraud and delivery – all through a single integration. ESW’s Velocity consultancy service provides the expertise to execute successful growth initiatives across customer experience, acquisition, and retention, all while engaging directly with customers and retaining ownership of all the data collected during the shopping journey.