Luxury Brands Finally Finding The Key To Driving Online, Mobile Conversions

Traffic to luxury brand Web sites rose 10% so far this year compared with last, with five brands -- Ralph Lauren, Coach, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton and Gucci -- capturing 75% of traditional online market share, and 68% of mobile, per a luxury brand trend report.

The study of PM Digital clients identifies that Google's search engine accounts for 41% of referrals to luxury brand sites -- about ten times as much as Bing, but for the most part remains absent on Google Product Listing Ads. Search engines account for half of all visits to luxury brand sites, followed by shopping engines and social sites. About one in every 10 visits to a luxury brand Web site originates from either another luxury brand site or from a department store site.

Facebook and YouTube drive Web site visits when it comes to social traffic, accounting for a combined 5% of visits to luxury sites, according to the report. Only a handful of the top luxury brands have surpassed 10 million Facebook likes. The report notes that Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci made it, while Chanel sits on the cusp.



Overall, more visits to luxury brand sites came from eBay and Amazon than from any department store or competing luxury brand. The top referring sites by source point to eBay at 1.62% of clicks for shopping sites, followed by Amazon at 1.26%, and Macy's at 1.16%.

Nearly all major luxury brands support e-commerce, but too many leave traffic behind by not using paid-search advertising. added online shopping late last year, and traffic "quadrupled," capturing 1.4% market share, according to Experian Marketing Services.

Not all luxury brand mobile leaders have mobile-optimized sites. Givenchy created an m-commerce app for iPhone and iPad, but never had a Web store, according to PM Digital. The company now captures about 9% of market share for traditional Web traffic, per Experian. Louis Vuitton, with 9.2% traditional Web market share, launched mobile shopping in June -- adding paid search a few months earlier after avoiding it for years.

The PM Digital report notes: "Fendi remains one of the biggest hold-outs" when it comes to a virtual store, but Tom Ford, Chloe, and Manolo Blahnik do not have ecommerce sites either.

Handbags and shoes are the most popular products driving search clicks. Most of the searches include branded words, which identifies loyalty.

Josh Chasin, chief research officer at comScore, said Monday during the MediaPost OMMA Mobile keynote that m-commerce should hit $10 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, growing at about 28% annually. About 90% of digital commerce still takes place on PCs, with luxury items historically purchased on the desktop.

As m-commerce picks up, the PM Digital report shows cross-media strategies deliver the greatest results. Luxury brands with display advertising have greater market share than those without. Some 73% of luxury brands run online display ads and receive about 97% of all traffic, according to PM Digital, citing WhatRunWhere, and Experian data.

The study analyzes 52 luxury apparel, leather goods and accessories brands, excluding jewelry. Much of the data in this report, excluding data primarily gathered by PM Digital, has been sourced from Experian Marketing Services.

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