When it comes to online traffic of luxury brands, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren are the tops in a market where shoppers go to Google first while mostly using mobile devices to visit and shop on Web sites.

Other notable findings in PM Digital’s annual “Trend Report: Luxury Brands Online” include that brands are “heavily reliant on search, which drives more than half of all referred traffic,” the researchers said in the report. By comparison, non-luxury apparel brands have a 40 percent referral rate.

The research firm said the top 10 luxury brands garner 81 percent of the total online brand market share, with the leading brands including Michael Kors (19.2 percent); Ralph Lauren (18.9 percent); Coach (12.1 percent), and Louis Vuitton (9.1 percent). Michael Kors wrestled the top spot from Ralph Lauren, which was number one last year.

“Michael Kors narrowly captured top market share among luxury brands, a first for the fast-growing retail giant,” the researchers noted. “This entry into the lead position was driven by exceptionally high traffic to michaelkors.com during the holiday 2014 [season] and into the first quarter of 2015,” the reported said.

Noteworthy was that the top three keywords and products for luxury brand sites was “outlet” with a 3.1 percent share, “shoes” with a 2.5 percent share, and “bag” at 2.3 percent.

As other analytic firms have noted, mobile devices are fast becoming the go-to device for visiting sites and making purchases. PM Digital said mobile devices account for 57 percent of traffic to luxury Web sites. “Luxury shoppers are far more likely to be on a smartphone or tablet than the average Internet user – of which only 35 percent are mobile,” the firm said.

Regarding searching for brands, Google garners a whopping 47.4 percent share of search referrals, which is followed by Yahoo! at 1.7 percent. In the social media realm, Facebook dominates the luxury brand traffic with YouTube in second and Reddit in third. After Facebook and Google, the “top referring site to luxury brands is…another luxury brand, the quintessential heritage house of Louis Vuitton,” the research report noted.

In the shopping site segment, top luxury traffic is generated by Amazon.com, eBay and Macy’s. Overall, the year-over-year growth of traffic on luxury brand sites is 20.4 percent with 207 million visits in the past 12 months. Other notable findings include that “nearly 40 percent of those exiting luxury brand sites go to some type of shopping site, primarily other luxury brands and department stores, but also online-only merchants and consignment sites,” the research firm said.

The report also included a ranking of Instagram followers and post counts. Ranked by the number of followers, Louis Vuitton takes the top spot with 6.3 million followers. Chanel is second with 5.8 million, and Dior is third with 5.3 million.

Online Market Share by Brand (ranked by traffic to sites):

1. Michael Kors

2. Ralph Lauren

3. Coach

4. Louis Vuitton

5. Gucci

6. Chanel

7. Burberry

8. Louboutin

9. Versace

10. Hermès

Source: PM Digital’s 2015 Trend Report: Luxury Brands Online

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