NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwire – Sep 19, 2012)

Handbags and Shoes Among Key Products Helping to Drive 7% Growth in 2012

E-commerce is having a significant impact on the overall growth of the luxury retail category, even during a weak economy, according to a study released by PM Digital, a New York-based digital marketing agency.

This is among the findings in PM Digital’s “Trend Report: Luxury Brands Online“, which analyzes the state of luxury e-tail and predicts how emerging digital and social media trends will impact the industry.

“Our study has shown that luxury brands must have an integrated e-commerce strategy with both paid and organic search and a diverse social media presence in order to compete in today’s marketplace,” said Suzy Sandberg, President of PM Digital. “Brands that are forgoing e-commerce best practices risk lagging behind in overall sales.”

Successful luxury marketers are those who know how to translate the exclusive, authentic and indulgent in-store experience to an online environment, the study’s authors argue. They also know how to use social networks, such as Pinterest and Instagram, to engage consumers. In fact, the study found that consumers search more handbags and shoes via websites and mobile apps than any other type of clothing. These findings could be consistent with a younger aspirational demo who is more apt to buy online.

Additional key findings from the study reveal:

  • The five largest luxury brands — Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton and Chanel — capture 75% of online luxury market share.
  • Most luxury brand websites now have online stores (85%), and brands with online stores get 98% of all traffic to luxury brand sites.
  • Search engines remain the largest source of traffic to luxury brand sites, accounting for 37% of all referrals, with Google alone accounting for 29% of referrals.
  • Luxury brands rely more on search engine traffic than average apparel and accessories sites, but with a smaller ratio of paid search. Not investing more aggressively in paid search indicates that some brands are potentially ceding click share for their trademarked terms to other sites.
  • Social media accounts for 8% of traffic to luxury websites. Facebook is the most significant player, referring 4% of total site visits. Pinterest refers nearly as many visits as Twitter, a significant source of incremental traffic that didn’t exist only a year ago. A growing number of luxury brands are also embracing Instagram, the fast-growing social photo app recently bought by Facebook.

For the full report, visit:



PM Digital chose 46 luxury apparel and accessories brands (excluding jewelry) to serve as a benchmark for the sector. Some considerations included brand heritage, price point and dominant customer profile. A few well-known brands with insufficient online traffic data were omitted. A conscious attempt was made to include newer brands and designers who are redefining luxury for the 21st century, alongside prestige brands, many of which are 100+ years old. Much of the data in this report, excluding data primarily gathered by PM Digital, has been sourced from Experian Hitwise North America.

About PM Digital

PM Digital, an award winning Digital Marketing Agency, specializes in Paid Search, SEO, Social Commerce, Display Advertising, and Shopping Feed Management. Through our customized, high-touch campaigns, we drive qualified traffic to our client’s websites to grow their business online. Our talent, expertise, technology and industry knowledge enables our clients to consistently achieve YOY growth. PM Digital is headquartered in NYC and also has offices in San Francisco, Arizona, and South Carolina. For more on PM Digital’s thought leadership, please visit:

About Experian Hitwise North America

The leading global online competitive intelligence service, Experian Hitwise helps clients protect and grow their market share through the application of internet measurement data. Experian Hitwise measures the largest sample of internet users — 25 million worldwide, including 10 million in the United States. This sample size allows clients to understand internet behavior and competitive activity through data that is unmatched in timeliness, depth and breadth.