Filed under: Apparel
The web isn't just for bargains. Some of the top luxury lifestyle brands in the world are turning to the internet to beef up their sales -- a must in a market where brick-and-mortar is lagging in the all-important holiday season. Giorgio Armani and Valentino Fashion Group, which have generally steered clear of the prolies shopping online, are changing their attitudes, as they have had to cope with the most severe recession in seventy years. Roberto Cavalli and Salvatore Ferragamo have joined the fray, too, both opening online stores in the past month.
In addition to younger buyers who are more comfortable skipping the store, a sense of "luxury shame" is causing many to turn to the web. The anonymity, once reserved for porn purchases, allows customers to indulge in big-ticket buys without having to endure looks of envy (or worse). If you need proof that luxury spending is going digital, take a look at Italy. This year, online sales of Italian luxury products are expected to surge 42 percent to $500 million, according to a study by Politecnico. Last year, it fell six percent for the luxury goods industry as a whole. In Italy, around 14 percent of holiday shopping will occur ont eh web, according to Deloitte's 2009 Christmas Survey.
The luxury industry's online endeavors are not limited to traditional stores, though Stefano Sassi, Valentino's CEO, notes that the startup costs are lower and that "There's a very interesting margin on e-commerce" as a result. Armani has launched applications for smartphones, including the iPhone and Blackberry and has launched a Christmas website.