UK luxe consumers are buying bags and sneakers online during crisis – report

Tech firm Emarsys said “shoppers all across the world are comfort-buying more luxury goods online to help them get them through the Covid-19 crisis”.Globally in recent weeks, they’ve spent 57% more year-on-year on luxury fashion items online, with handbags and sneakers seeing “the highest consistent demand” in the UK.

This online activity is helping to offset the closure of physical shops around the world, closures that Bain & Company is predicting will mean a 35% decline in the global luxury market this year. However, the ability of the online sales channel to fully offset the physical shops decline is limited. Some consumers won’t buy online, delivery windows can be difficult to get in the current crisis, and (perhaps most importantly) some brands don’t offer their complete collections online. These include big names such as Chanel, Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton that prefer to prioritise the in-store luxury experience. That approach “could prove damaging during this crisis,” Emarsys said. The company identified the online trends via Covid-19 Commerce Insight, a joint project between it and GoodData, showing the impact of Covid-19 on consumer confidence. It drew on more than a billion engagements and 400 million transactions in 120 countries.Alex Timlin, senior VP of verticals at Emarsys, who has been analysing the data, said: “The vast majority of consumers are going through a tough time at the moment, and while you might expect sales of luxury goods online to go down as people tighten their belts, our data shows that it’s going up.“I appreciate that e-commerce isn’t going to help every brand in the world right now, but it can be a serious help in offsetting the damage caused by lost sales in physical stores while we navigate this global crisis. Many luxury brands believe that a luxury sell can’t be done effectively online — but during this time, those brands may have no choice but to reconsider the channels through which they sell.”

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