Decoding the French Fashion & Luxury Online Consumers

5 Key insights from IFM X MATCHESFASHION.COM's online Luxury Index

in brief

MATCHESFASHION.COM, the international fashion and luxury online shopping destination, partnered with the Institut Français de la Mode to build a french Luxury online consumption Index. In the purpose of analyzing the evolution of behaviors and consumption habits of french consumers every semester, this second release provides us with clear trends likely to offer a better understanding of the french digital space.

Following MATCHESFASHION.COM‘s effort to adapt to the french market (illustrated by the roll out of the famous website’s french version and its curated approach to the french creators and designers collections sold on the platform, in partnership with the ANDAM), the luxury fashion retailer recently released the second edition of its Online Luxury Index, in collaboration with the internationally renowned Institut Français de la Mode (IFM). After the first results from late April, the updated market research gives away many insights based on the answers of french luxury consumers who have bought a luxury product online in the last 12 months :

1. Luxury’s online consumption on the French market is intensifying 

In short, 76% of the individuals surveyed have declared they have bought luxury articles online at least once this year, a 6 points increase when compared to the previous period. If, for the most part, a third of these consumers are buying luxury goods on a regular basis, the results show that millennials are answering positively twice as much as in April, positioning them at the forefront of this movement.    

2. Internet is their favourite source of inspiration and information 

Unanimously, 9 out of 10 of the respondants declared that they first browse the web in order to prepare for their luxury shopping spree. The digital space seems to become the go-to destination in french consumers exploratory and preparation phases preceding the buying decision. While this process seems to be a regular habit (38% of the people surveyed declared doing this often and 34% from time to time), it is important to retain that one out of five people proceeds this way systematically. Moreover, it is interesting to notice that bloggers and influencers aren’t top of mind on the french market, gathering only 16% of the total answers and ranking far behind social medias (24%) and word of mouth (22%). Based on these figures, we can supposedly think that contrarily to popular beliefs, the importance of influencers on buying decisions is relative when it comes to the french market.

3. Online stores = Brick-and-mortar 

It appears that the dematerialization of the shopping experience isn’t a hurdle to luxury’s desirability. Indeed, with an 8 point rise this semester, digital experiences are supposedly playing a key role in the global luxury experience, becoming as unavoidable as visiting a brick-and-mortar store (gathering respectively 44% of favorable answers when asked which channel triggers a buying decision). The release of new collections (34%), advertising and editorial (22%), discovering new brands (18%) and new product categories (18%) complete the list of the most important psychological triggers when it comes to luxury in France.

4. Marketplaces are soaring

As a direct consequence of the broadening of their product offering, marketplaces seem to entice a growing interst from french consumers (with a 6 points increase) while the figures for other online players remain in a blank state (steady for the second hand market, with 47% of answers and 25% for independant retailers and department stores). When observing the detailed results more closely, we can easily say that globally, on the french market, a broader product and brand offering and the quality of the experiences provided by online retailers have a much greater importance than additional services like in-store tips and advices.

5. Mobile is driving the french digital luxury market’s growth, driven by millennial consumers

With an important penetration rate, which doubled over the semester (from 23% to 40% for consumers aged 18 to 24 years old), it appears that one out of four french consumers are now buying luxury goods directly from their smartphones. While this mays not seem surprising at all, given the global digital consumption trends we read on a daily basis, it is important to notice that this trend is impacting the older generations, whose smartphone usage is soaring (the usage frequency rate tripled for people aged 45 to 54 years old, with a 9 point increase from the previous period to reach 13% and doubled for people aged 55 years old and more, with a 5 points increase, reaching 10% for this second edition), probably illustrating the premise of the mobile usage democratization, provided that this trend continues in the months to come.

Click the following link to download the pdf and have a better understanding of these figures (french version).

This post was written in partnership with DEFI France, as part of its support to innovation and fashion companies.

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