Are the rich, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once allegedly declared to Ernest Hemingway, really “different?”

It’s debatable (as is the incidence of the conversation between the two literati), but one thing is without question: the affluent shop differently and enjoy a higher degree of service than the broader retail market.

This was one of the findings in the new Luxury Shopping Focus report, which studied the ecommerce activity of over 20 million luxury shoppers worldwide.

The year-over-year net increase of 29% in shoppers to luxury sites in the second quarter, compared with 25% in the broader market, is a clear indication of the strength of this retail vertical. Furthermore, luxury shoppers are making more frequent visits, as visit frequency per shopper is up an astounding 24%, far outpacing that of any other slice of the retail market.

Here are some other key findings. Luxury shoppers:

  • Are migrating to phones faster than other verticals
  • Receive free shipping more often
  • Spend less time per visit
  • Use site search less often
  • Are far less likely to use Android devices
  • Buy goods that are less discounted than other verticals

The full results were presented in-depth and in detail, with context for retailers serving this specialized market, in this recent Research Report.

While the distinction between luxury and general commerce is generally based on price, there is something else that differentiates the two: service. In fact, the expectation of exemplary service in the luxury sector rises above all else.

One example: site search is used in only 4.5% of luxury site visits, compared to more than 8% across all ecommerce, suggesting that luxe shoppers rely on the brand (not a search box) to direct and guide the shopping experience.

Even the approach to discounting and shipping is different in luxury, which has the lowest discount rate of 8%, and the highest rate of free shipping, at 71%.

All of this underscores the need for luxury retailers to deliver the shopping experiences that their customers pay for, and demand. That is, a higher level of service, which retailers can execute with strong personalization and clienteling. Retailers that can bring this level of service and intimacy to the digital shopping experience will capture the hearts, loyalty and wallets of these well-heeled consumers.

Download the Luxury Shopping Focus

Download the Shopping Index

The Luxury Shopping Focus is a companion report to the quarterly Demandware Shopping Index, which analyzes the activity of over 200 million online shoppers worldwide