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Ecommerce boosts sales for luxury brands

Digital investment has sparked a surge in sales for many luxury brands, according to a report by trend forecasting agency WGSN for Walpole.

WGSN surveyed senior executives and individuals responsible for digital and marketing strategies at 33 British companies, most of whom are members of luxury brand alliance Walpole. The large majority (92%) of respondents said it is now very or extremely important for luxury companies to have a strong digital presence.

Just over half said a more sophisticated approach to ecommerce was driving sales growth in their businesses, while the investment in digital is improving brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Most brands said they expect online sales to increase over the next five years and they plan to invest in recruiting additional talent to support this. WGSN’s report concludes that the chief digital officer role will become increasingly “pivotal”.

Carla Buzasi, global chief content officer at WGSN, said: “With growth in online, luxury brands are now recruiting digital experts to help them take their strategies to the next level. This is reflected in the recent appointment of Ian Rogers, former Apple executive, as the chief digital officer of LVMH.

“With nine out of 10 luxury brands saying they plan to further invest in digital talent over the next five years to meet their growth ambitions, luxury could be an attractive destination for digital talent.”

The report also underlines the continuing importance of bricks-and-mortar stores. Respondents pointed out that the luxury product experience, such as the feel of tailored clothes, cannot be achieved online, so it is important to invest in both channels.

Walpole is a luxury association whose members include Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Harrods.

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