Luxe Retailers Lag Online

While wealthy consumers are of growing importance to the e-commerce ecosystem, luxury retailers are falling behind in their online offerings, according to an eMarketer report.
“Affluent consumers expect luxury retailers’ Web sites to replicate the same shopping experience they offer in their stores,” said Jeffrey Grau, a senior analyst at the firm.
But many luxury brands have not risen to the occasion. According to Grau, several have been slow to launch fully transactional Web sites, and are feeling the pressure to take e-commerce more seriously or risk alienating their customer base.
Wealthy consumers are arguably one of the most important online shopping demographics. While households with income of $100,000 or more contributed only one-third of total U.S. retail online spending in Q2 2010, they accounted for more than two-thirds of e-commerce growth in that quarter, comScore recently reported.

“These are a new breed of luxury shoppers who make purchase decisions based on value and information rather than brand image,” Grau said. “They feel empowered by the Internet and diligently research online to find good deals and assess product quality.
“And they feel entitled to a white-glove online shopping experience with rich visual content and high-class treatment,” he added.