Although the personal luxury market grew by 45% in China, it shrank by 21% in the rest of the world in 2020 as consumers pulled back discretionary spending in response to the economic impacts of COVID-19. While the luxury industry has been historically slow to embrace digital, luxury labels finally leaned in to digital channels to generate revenue. Ultimately, online retail sales for luxury goods increased by 92% in 2020, year over year. The top ten brands in Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury lead in four online dimensions: site, path to purchase, digital marketing channels and social media.
1. Louis Vuitton Digital IQ: 144
Louis Vuitton boasts the highest year-over-year growth in absolute traffic to its brand site across tracked brands. It leveraged its global presence to continue creating fashion show content by hosting events in geographies without lockdowns, utilizing livestreams to extend viewership of these events. As a result, the brand captured 11% of all likes and comments of tracked brands’ Instagram posts, up 2 percentage points compared to 2019. Louis Vuitton’s site also boasts a low bounce-rate, thanks in part to its robust digital merchandising features and omnichannel functionality, with mobile-optimized product videos, find-in-store CTAs and next-day “click and collect” fulfillment options.
2. Tiffany & Co. Digital IQ: 142
Tiffany & Co. maintained stronger nonbranded search visibility than any other tracked brand. It is one of the few Index brands to offer virtual appointment booking directly in the shopping journey on mobile product pages. Its creative approach to content early in the pandemic enabled Tiffany & Co. to maintain high Instagram engagement rates when other brands decreased posting, using reposts of upbeat, archival campaign content while embracing informal, episodic IGTV video content.
3. Kate Spade Digital IQ: 140
Kate Spade invested heavily in paid search, display and social ads to maximize its reach online, achieving strong visibility on nonbranded keywords and also garnering among the highest impressions for Facebook ads. The brand utilized email campaigns effectively to drive a high level of traffic to its site and benefited from strong merchandising functionality on PDPs to drive conversions.
4. Chanel Digital IQ: 139
Chanel shines with an efficient appointment booking experience on site that enables virtual and in person appointment booking, perfect for the pandemic. For virtual appointments, clients can choose between multiple formats, such as FaceTime or Zoom. The brand also boasts the largest community size on both YouTube and Instagram across the entire luxury Index, with highly engaged audiences to match.
5. Ralph Lauren Digital IQ: 136
Ralph Lauren’s robust product pages come packed with polished digital features including pay-by-installment financing, ‘find in store’ inventory integration, and appointment booking CTAs which enable in store, phone or virtual appointment booking. Its mobile-optimized site search features suggested searches, keyword auto-complete, and visual search result previews. Ralph Lauren also leads with strong visibility in nonbranded search, particularly within organic search, the highest share of Facebook impressions across the Index, and the highest volume of video views on its YouTube channel.
6. Coach Digital IQ: 133
Coach comes in sixth place with mobile-first search and navigation filters including visual category filters and swipeable product tiles on grid pages. Its mobile-optimized checkout features include auto-fill of city and state with zip code entry and the ability to toggle between online and in store pick up. Additionally, its product pages feature reviews and pay-by-installment options, plus strong omnichannel capabilities like “find in store” and buy-online, pick up in-store.
7. Gucci Digital IQ: 130
Gucci makes it into the luxury greats with the highest volume of average monthly visits out of all tracked brands. The label drives a high volume of traffic to its site from email, with strong annual email traffic growth to match. Gucci’s highly engaged Instagram audience grabs the second highest score for total grid page interactions, as it rolled out creative campaigns throughout the year that focused on less formal content, like having its employees model its new Epilogue collection. The luxury label also leveraged its social media expertise in scaling campaign content, posting previews of campaigns to IGTV, longer cuts of the previews to its YouTube channel, and yet more versions to TikTok that included trending transition effects specific to the platform.
8. Tory Burch Digital IQ: 127
Tory Burch takes eighth place thanks in part to its knack for addressing key pain points in its online shopping experience. The efforts to improve digitally paid off, as the brand’s website scored high for traffic engagement, with a high rate of visits per visitor, high average visit duration, and a low bounce rate relative to index peers. Tory Burch also took time to create robust digital content on its product pages including lifestyle imagery and mobile-optimized video content embedded within the image carousel.
9. Swarovski Digital IQ: 125
The crystal creator boasts a sparkling website that drew a high volume of average monthly visits with strong annual growth and a high rate of visits per visitor. Swarovski’s tiered loyalty program also provides experiential benefits and financial incentives for moving to the next tier for customers. Finally, the label integrated robust omnichannel fulfilment capabilities in its product pages to lead with a more seamless experience.
10. Michael Kors Digital IQ: 122
Michael Kors makes the cut thanks in part to its loyalty program, which rewards both transactional and engagement behavior including incentives for writing product reviews, creating wishlists, and signing in to the brand’s app. The label possesses the highest rate of engagement per post on Facebook across the Index and offers omnichannel fulfillment features with store inventory checks, plus strong branded search performance and strong nonbranded organic visibility in key categories like handbags and wallets.