Commentary

Search Study Identifies Keyword, Engine, Device, Social Influences

Luxury-brand-PurseOnline purchases have become incredibly easy. Much easier than having to walk into a store and locate the item, only to find the retailer has sold out of your size. I've become more impatient with physical stores as search technology continues to improve. Not only can you find more selections online because retailers don't want to house slower-moving merchandise, but searching for a specific product simply means entering a keyword or descriptive term to return relevant items.   

It appears I'm not the only consumer who feels this way. Luxury brands experienced 31% of visits from search, compared with 27% for Apparel & Accessories sites -- although some still lack a paid-search strategy, according to a report published by PM Digital on Tuesday.

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Among the findings in Trend Report: Luxury and Designer Brands Online -- which analyzes the state of luxury e-tail and predicts how emerging digital platforms and social media trends will impact the industry -- shoes and accessories continue to drive online and mobile shopping, as well as buying direct from luxury brands.

Google took the No. 1 search engine referral spot in August for luxury brands, with 25.11% market share, followed by Yahoo at 3.69%. Bing at 2.20%. AOL at 0.57%, and Ask at 0.35%.

Search term data broken into component keywords reveal that "shoes," "handbags" and "accessories" drive more search traffic for luxury brands than for the broader Apparel category. Non-brand individual keywords for shoes drove 4.14% of search clicks and 37% of organic, followed by handbags at 3.05% and 25%, outlet at 2.78% and 55%, and shirts at 1.87% and 69%, respectively.

The ten largest luxury brands captured nearly 90% of online market share, based on total visits to 42 luxury brand sites such as Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, and Gucci, studied for this report. 

Shoes, handbags and accessories drove more search clicks for luxury brands than apparel. Shirts top the clothing keyword list, driven by Ralph Lauren's clicks from "polo shirts," followed by dresses.

Influence from consumers sharing thoughts on social media sites will continue to impact shoppers. Social media accounts for nearly 10% of traffic to the luxury category. 

No surprise that Facebook sent the most referrals -- 7.12% -- to luxury brand Web sites among all the social sites in August. YouTube was next with 1.71% market share, followed by Twitter with 0.15%, Yelp at 0.10%, and Tumblr at 0.06%.

Interestingly, Prada tops YouTube, but not Facebook or Twitter. PM Digital's report points to an unauthorized Prada Facebook page with more "Likes" than major brands like YSL, Hermes, and Alexander McQueen. As for Facebook, Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton may have the most-visited Web sites, but Burberry, Gucci and Dior have the largest audiences.

Much of the data in this report, excluding data primarily gathered by PM Digital, has been sourced from Experian Hitwise.

2 comments about "Search Study Identifies Keyword, Engine, Device, Social Influences".
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  1. Susan Pottish from i-Cue Design, Inc., October 25, 2011 at 4:54 p.m.

    This strong trend with luxury brands stands in curious contrast to the lack of enhanced shopping experience on many of their sites--they often use slow loading pages along with last-century design that requires many forced page changes to 'view cart', etc. How much stronger might their numbers be if it were significantly easier and quicker to buy on their sites? [Disclaimer: We address this issue in online cart design.] Perhaps their orientation to exquisite design gets implemented on their sites with exquisite graphics. But the customer's shopping interface is another place where design can be a major attraction!

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 14, 2011 at 2:40 p.m.

    What would be interesting is finding out how many people visited and saw the merchandise in person for the first class experience and to feel and see it first before ordering on line and in some cases to save tax on a couple $2000 handbag and $800 pairs of shoes etc. ?

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