The luxury sector has long been one of the most wary about e-commerce, but most brands have overcome their fear as even staunch holdouts like Céline and Chanel are slowly coming around to online sales.
But L2’s new Luxury Japan Insight Report finds that brands’ adoption of direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce has been uneven across mature markets, with less willingness to sell online in Japan than in the United States. While 90% of Index Luxury brands now have online shops available in the United States, the report finds that 73% of the same list of brands offer e-commerce in Japan. Brands in the watches & jewelry category are especially hesitant, with only 57% selling online on their Japan sites.
Brands offering DTC e-commerce in the United States but not in Japan include Hugo Boss, Tod’s, Ralph Lauren, and Chanel (which only sells sunglasses so far). Among brands benchmarked since 2014, DTC e-commerce adoption increased by only 6 percentage points from 2014 to 2016.
Japan is the second-largest luxury market after the United States, with 9% of all global luxury sales taking place in the country. But brands may be reluctant to sell online partly because brick and mortar remains a popular form of luxury shopping, taking up 88% of all fashion sales and 98% of all watch sales. Brands are using this as an opportunity to stand out with omnichannel site features, but not when it comes to e-commerce: while 97% of Japan brand sites feature store locators, only 19% allow shoppers to buy online and pick up in store.