Although there’s evidence that luxury brands ought to be investing more in social networks for their marketing campaigns, it seems their customers are now choosing to shop on their mobile phones.

Recent surveys show that luxury goods firms are making major investments into social networks. It now appears that luxury brand marketers should also be focusing on mobile commerce.  ForeSee, a Michigan, USA-based company pioneering customer experience analytics, has just published its annual survey* of the top 100 e-tail websites according to sales volume. For the first time, the survey has added a Luxury Index, reporting on satisfaction with the websites of thirteen top luxury retailers with a strong online presence. The survey showed that that only 1% of customers in this sector would prefer to use the social network channel to make purchases, while 25% would buy using their mobile phones. This figure leaves some questions unanswered but it does present brands with many opportunities using this technology, especially as 59% of these ‘Luxury Brand Shoppers’ use their mobile phones to interact with companies, and another 18% intend to do so in future.

Using a mobile phone to make comparisons

Breaking these figures down, ForeSee reports some 56% of these shoppers stating that they use their mobile phones “to research products (compare product details, look up prices, find store locations, etc.)”, while 13% use retailer-developed mobile shopping apps. Moreover, 24% use their mobile phones to “compare products or prices while shopping in person in a store”. Looking at how the customers are using their mobile phones in-store, the survey shows that 65% of shoppers use them to access the store’s website while they are out doing their shopping, and 24% use them to access a shopping comparison website. A significant minority also check out the competition at the same time, 39% reporting that they access a competitor’s website and 10% say they make use of a competitor firm’s mobile app.

Online shopping surpasses in-store purchases

The analysis also shows that the majority of customers (67%) prefer to buy luxury items on the Internet, versus the 22% who would rather do so in-store. When it comes to shopping preferences, 65% of the luxury goods customers do their research online before buying online, while only 22% research online and then go to purchase the item at a store. By comparison, very few of these customers appear to do much product research at a bricks-and-mortar store. Just 4% say they research in-store and then purchase online, while only 6% both research in-store and purchase in-store. The really good news for luxury brands is that overall they receive high marks from the customers: on a 100-point scale their aggregated score for customer satisfaction is 77.

*2012 ForeSee E-Retail Satisfaction Index