In one of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits, a mysterious (and eye patch’d) Will Ferrell engages a woman (Maya Rudolph) seated next to him at the bar, with the come on: “Do you like luxury? Do you like the finer things?” While a stereotypical view into luxury shopping is often characterized by such snobby exclusivity and focuses on the luxury good, in our exhaustive analysis of the luxury sector, we sought to best understand how these shoppers are behaving, and how luxury brands are connecting with them.

Here are some of the key themes identified from an analysis of more than 200 million shopping visits to luxury sites:

Luxury Shoppers Have Gone Mobile

In yet another sign of mobile’s continued rise, even Luxury shoppers choose to shop on phones. While mobile traffic share to luxury sites (46%) is just short of the average across all sectors (47%), mobile order share is actually higher in luxury. All told, luxury apparel shoppers that choose to visit on their phone are more likely to buy on mobile than any other apparel shoppers.

Browsing vs. Buying

Traditionally, conversion rates in luxury have trailed other sectors. In this Luxury Shopping Focus, we set out to go beyond conversion rate, and to measure the actual intentions of shoppers. We call this new metric Buying Intent, and include a number of key buying signals in the calculation, like site search usage, basket creation and checkout starts. Not surprisingly, the value was lowest among luxury sites, which means that many luxury shoppers are browsing, but not sending clear buying signals. However, luxury shoppers actually expressed more Buying Intent on phones than on other devices, a contrast to the behavior of shoppers in other retail sectors.

Balancing the Art and Science of Retailing

Leading luxury retailers are proving to be progressive, employing scientific factors of engagement, like personalization and fit technology. In fact, we found that 85% of luxury sites are employing recommendations, a rate on par with other retail sectors. But, the high growth retailers are more likely to balance those scientific factors with traditional artistic factors, like emphasizing the brand voice throughout the experience. To read more about the art and science of retailing, check out  Fashion Shopping Focus.

Throughout the Luxury Shopping Focus, we observe the unique shopping behavior of luxury shoppers. These are not simply metrics for retailers to benchmark against – instead, retailers must develop unique engagement strategies to connect these shoppers to their brand and products. I encourage you to read the Luxury Shopping Focus, and join us for an upcoming webinar, where we will share some more from the report, and highlight some leading retailers engaging the luxury shopper.

The Luxury Shopping Focus Report provides insights on the luxury retail segment based on data from more than 40 million online global shoppers, accounting for more than 200 million shopping visits and nearly two million transactions.