Luxury Fashion Spending Online Is on the Rise — And Almost Half of It Is on Footwear

While big-ticket handbags may be the traditional luxury purchase, shoes are where the real money is for high-end online retailers.

According to The NPD Group’s latest U.S. Luxury E-commerce Report, footwear accounts for nearly half of all luxury fashion dollars spent online, with the remaining share divided between apparel and accessories. Shoe shoppers also spend more and buy more frequently: Average online luxury footwear expenditures increased 4 percent to $794 (versus $782 for accessories and $716 for apparel), and purchases frequency edged up to 1.6 times per year.

If you consider some of the most in-demand designer pieces from the past few years, the success of the footwear segment is no surprise. Balenciaga’s Triple S sneakers repeatedly sold out even at upwards of $900, giving the brand enough momentum to outpace Gucci as Kering’s fastest-growing label, and the company’s socklike Speed Trainers were a hit as well. Alessandro Michele has also continued to churn-out popular styles, from classic loafers to logo pool slides.

“It’s not just about the statement bag anymore. Now, thanks to expanded accessibility, the statement shoe is also an area of focus and investment for consumers,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor at The NPD Group. “If we pay attention to what consumers are saying, these new market dynamics spell a great deal of opportunity across the entire luxury fashion market.”

The report looks at checkout e-commerce data taken from a panel of nine multibrand retailers, including department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, and online pure-play retailers such as Farfetch and Net-A-Porter, as well as their customers.

In recent years, the report found, luxury fashion sales online have increased nearly 50 percent. NPD has previously said that it expects growth in sneaker sales to continue in the double digits for several years.

“The luxury market is evolving, new brands are getting attention, and online retailer platforms are elevating the competitive landscape,” said Cohen. “The younger, multiethnic demographic that is more attracted to purchasing designer products online – even more than the average online accessories, footwear or apparel buyer – is a major contributor to this evolution.”

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