Online sales already make up 9% of global luxury sales, and they’re growing nearly five-times faster than total sales of prestige goods. That’s forcing storied names in luxury to invest heavily in e-commerce and digital marketing.

The very rich, F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, “are different from you and me.” But increasingly they’re shopping online just like the rest of us. That’s forcing such iconic names in luxury as Gucci, Dior and Cartier to invest in creating the kind of elegant and high-performing e-commerce sites that will appeal to their discerning clientele.

How that’s playing out is described in detail in Internet Retailer’s just-released report, “The Luxury E-Commerce Gold Rush.” It provides a wealth of exclusive data about 130 luxury retailers and brands, including an analysis of their conversion rates, average order values, customer demographics, website traffic, social media followings and their country-specific e-commerce sites. It also describes how Inc. and eBay Inc. are edging into the luxury e-commerce space.

The web’s share of global luxury sales ticked up to 9.0% in 2017 from 7.6% in 2016.

The report documents the aggressive e-commerce investments of a firm like The Estée Lauder Cos Inc., which operates nearly 1,500 e-commerce sites around the world for its portfolio of brands. Another sign of the growing allure of luxury e-commerce was the highly successful IPO of U.K.-based Farfetch Ltd., which raised $885 million when it went public in September on the New York Stock Exchange. That was well above the top range of the company’s expectations, a sign of investor interest in the prospects of companies selling prestige products online.

That investor enthusiasm is a product of the robust growth of luxury e-commerce. Worldwide online sales of luxury personal goods, which excludes purchases of cars and travel, grew 23.3% to $27.925 billion in 2017 from $22.648 in 2016, according to Internet Retailer estimates. That was far faster than the 5.0% growth in total luxury sales to $313.764 billion in 2017 from $298.823 billion a year earlier, according to Internet Retailer.

As a result, the web’s share of global luxury sales ticked up to 8.9% in 2017 from 7.6% in 2016. And Internet Retailer projects luxury e-commerce will grow an even faster 21.4% in 2018 and capture 10.1% of total retail sales of high-end goods.


This report, “The Luxury E-Commerce Gold Rush,” describes the big developments in this fast-growing arena, including luxury powerhouse Richemont Group—owner of such iconic names as Cartier, Piaget and Montblanc—shelling out $3.3 billion for online luxury leader Yoox Net-A-Porter, and Chinese e-retail giant Inc. investing $397 million in Farfetch before its IPO. Also covered are such less-publicized developments as the rise of luxury resale websites and of marketplaces specializing in selling goods from tiny boutiques around the world.

Among the first-of-its-kind features of this report is an analysis of the hundreds of country-specific e-commerce sites of the 130 luxury retailers and brands that are the focus of this study.

What’s in the report

This 82-page report, “The Luxury E-Commerce Gold Rush,” also includes:

  • Exclusive Internet Retailer estimates on the size of the global luxury market, the e-commerce share of that market and how much growth lies ahead
  • Exclusive data on the world’s 130 leading luxury online retailers, including the leaders in sales and growth
  • Details on the leading online marketplaces around the world that sell high-end goods, and an analysis of the steps Amazon and eBay are taking to move into this arena
  • Data on the luxury leaders in paid search spend and followers on major social networks
  • Benchmark data on conversion rate and average order value, broken down by merchandise category and the type of company
  • How luxury retailers and brands are selling to international shoppers
  • An in-depth look at China’s fast-growing luxury e-commerce scene and how global brands are getting in on the action
  • An exclusive survey of luxury shoppers that reveals how much they buy online, what they look for in an e-commerce site, the online and offline marketing channels that influence their buying decisions, the role of physical stores in their purchasing behavior, and how much they shop via mobile websites and apps.

This report, along with 20 other research reports, is immediately available to Digital Commerce 360 Platinum and Gold membersSingle copy sales are also available for $299.