China luxury e-commerce is expected to reach $5.9 billion by 2015, and Fashion and Watches & Jewelry brands are adapting their strategy. However, very little of these efforts are focused on the practical, or purchase side of the business. For example, 75% of Fashion brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury – China have China-specific sites, but only 15% are e-commerce enabled. In Fashion, China boasts the third largest percentage of country-specific sites but has one of the smallest fractions of e-commerce enabled ones. In fact, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong are the only countries with fewer e-commerce enabled sites than China in the Watches & Jewelry category.
Watches & Jewelry brands exhibit a similar pattern. For example, just 12% display prices on China-specific sites (compared to on 49% of U.S.-specific sites) and 9% give China consumers the option of purchasing online. Chow Tai Fook is the only jewelry brand that offers in-store pickup.
Part of this gap is due to the fact that Chinese luxury shoppers prefer to buy abroad to avoid tariffs. (A recent survey found that 43% of Chinese luxury buyers shopped for goods abroad, 32% purchased in Mainland China and 25% went to shopping trips in Hong Kong.) However, offering services and information such appointment scheduling and pricing could prep customers for purchases abroad.