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The different determinants of purchasing luxury goods online: An international comparison.

Academic research

The different determinants of purchasing luxury goods online: An international comparison

Franck Delpal

We propose elements of explanations on the determinants of the act of online purchase by luxury customers from three countries: the United States, the United Kingdom and France. Our research questions are: (1) What weight do cultural factors occupy in the act of buying online, compared to sociodemographic factors? In other words, to what extent would a French luxury customer with the same gender, age and income level as an American customer be less inclined to buy online than in physical stores? (2) How can we characterize these cultural differences? Is this the expression of a different relationship to luxury, different expectations or shopping habits more anchored in a historical context? We explore the reasons why French luxury clients are less likely to shop online than in store, compared to British and American customers. This research can give insights to researchers and practitioners on the behaviour and expectations of different sets of luxury clients in their customer journey. Relying on an exclusive set of customer data, we carry statistical analyses on a global sample of 2036 luxury customers from three countries. Using descriptive statistics and logistic regressions models, we highlight some determinants of online shopping. The influence of the nationality of respondents is statistically established as the second most important factor after consumer’s age. Different purchasing attitudes among countries, with an emphasis put by French clients on emotional dimensions, can explain why an online journey might be less engaging for them. We highlight the necessity to interact in a differentiated way according to the different sociodemographic groups. While social networks are the most common tools used to address the age gap among luxury clients, other functionalities can help to adapt to the expectations of shoppers from different countries. Our research is at the crossroad between cross-cultural studies on luxury shoppers, which did not provide yet an analysis on online customers, and studies dedicated to the specificities of luxury e-commerce which never employed an important international dataset.