Japan & Korea Luxury 2015

January 23, 2015

Key Findings Site E-Commerce

  • While 96 percent of Fashion brands and 84 percent of Watches & Jewelry brands in Japan serve a native language site to local customers, only 47 percent of Fashion brands and 57 percent of Watches & Jewelry brands offer a localized site experience to customers in Korea.
  • Despite Korea being an attractive market for luxury e-commerce, only 17 percent of Fashion brands and ten percent of Watches & Jewelry brands offer direct-to-consumer e-commerce compared with 58 percent of Fashion brands and 30 percent of Watches & Jewelry brands in Japan.
  • Korean e-tailers play a large role in the Korean luxury market, with almost three quarters of luxury brands returning product listings across one of four leading e-tailers. However, brand efforts to direct customers to e-tailers for purchase remain low with only two Index brands, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger, linking to e-tailers from their brand sites.

Key Findings Digital Marketing

  • Monthly search volume for Fashion brands is roughly three times that of Watches & Jewelry brands across Korea and Japan. Five brands including Chanel, Uniqlo, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada are among the top 10 most-searched brands in both Korea and Japan.
  • More brand term searches are conducted on mobile and tablet devices than on desktop devices. The average brand term search volume on mobile and tablet devices is 1.8 times larger than that on desktop in Japan, and twice as large in Korea.
  • Korean pop culture has a siginificant influence over Naver search behavior. Naver search volume increased significantly for Cartier, Hermès, and Saint Laurent during the airing of the popular Korean TV show “My Love From the Star.”

Key Findings Social Media

  • Over one third of Index brands are active on Twitter in Japan while only 15 percent of Index brands in Korea maintain an active account.
  • Less than 10 percent of Index brands experiment with local platforms (e.g. Kakao, Naver, and LINE) in Korea and Japan.
  • Social media adoption by luxury brands in Japan is double that of Korea, but still pales in comparison to other markets.

Key Findings Mobile

  • 24 percent of Index brands in Koreas have implemented responsive web design for their mobile site.
  • More than 20 percent of Index brands in Japan remove cross-selling from their mobile site compared with 14 percent in Korea.
  • In Japan, more than 90 percent of Index brands default to the desktop experience when accessed on tablet devices.

About the Report

The 2015 Digital IQ Index®: Japan & Korea Luxury assesses the digital performance of 70 Luxury brands in Japan and 68 Luxury brands in Korea spanning two product categories: Fashion and Watches & Jewelry. As luxury brands wrestle with cooling sales in China, two regional players show signs of continuing strength: Japan and South Korea. While Korea boasts the fastest Internet connectivity speeds worldwide and the highest social media penetration rates in East Asia, luxury brands have failed to invest in Korea-specific sites or platforms. Only a quarter of brands in the study maintain a Korea-specific Facebook page (compared to nearly half in Japan), and less than ten percent experiment with dominant regional platforms such as Kakao and Naver. Despite ample opportunities across both markets, digital investments by brands frequently diverge.

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