Luxury brands are starting to close the gap between digital and in-store performance, according to new research.

The fifth edition of Contactlab and Exane BNP Paribas’ ‘Digital Competitive Map’ measures the progress of luxury brands in adapting to the trend of increasing online sales [the companies said online retail sales in the UK have increased by over +20% since their last report].

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Burberry had the strongest digital presence among the 32 luxury brands evaluated

According to the companies’ research, which encompasses a range of evaluation parameters and this year included social media reach for the first time, luxury brands’ digital performance was up +5% overall.

Burberry had the strongest digital presence of the 32 international fashion and luxury brands tracked, according to the research. The brand was also top in last year’s report. Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, Gucci and Fendi also featured in the report’s top five.

“Exceptional results were achieved through geographical localisation, with a wider range of languages used on brand websites, email campaigns, and across social media platforms,” reported Contactlab, a digital customer engagement company, and Exane BNP Paribas, the financial investment branch of the French bank.

Five brands improved their digital performance more than +20%. These were: Hugo Boss (+28%), Dolce & Gabbana (+23%), Ferragamo (+22%), Michael Kors (+22%) and Chanel (+21%).

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Louis Vuitton was another strong digital performer, according to the research

“Coveted brands such as Luis Vuitton, Burberry, Bottega Veneta, Dior, and Tory Burch have harnessed the power of digital in order to excel in customer care, offering real-time style advisory consultations and exchanging mood boards and advice in order to help customers put outfits together. On the contrary, eight brands did not even reply to email enquiries,” said Contactlab Senior Advisor Marco Pozzi.

“Brands that are falling through the cracks can help themselves by offering a broad cross-channel experience and by focusing on personalisation. Burberry and Louis Vuitton set an excellent example, with official Twitter accounts in multiple countries and languages.

“Catering to millennial consumers is especially crucial in order to improve digital sales: for example Valentino is linking its Instagram account to its e-store in order to accommodate this demographic. The beauty of social media platforms, such as Instagram, is that they allow customers and brands to communicate globally, catalyse organic engagement, form creative communities and drive sales.”

More information on the Digital Competitive Map can be found here.