Social Media and the Luxury-Obsessed Consumer

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's no secret that wedding style has long taken its cues from fashion and interior design trends. What may be surprising to some is how these segments of the design industry are leading the pack in other areas as well, including marrying technology and consumer spending.

Gilt Groupe, a fashion retail site dubbed the "darling of luxury-obsessed bargain hunters" by FastCompany magazine, reports that 7% of its weekend sales are made via its iPhone app, Gilt on the Go, which launched last October. In just one day after the iPad was released, the device accounted for 2.4% of Gilt’s sales. To compare, the total revenue from mobile sales for retailers on Cyber Monday last year was only 3.8%.

Last Fall, Gilt ventured into the hospitality and tourism industries with the launch of its sister site Jetsetter, which features exclusive vacation discounts at over 200 luxury resorts and hotels in twenty countries. Also interesting to note? Jetsetter isn't pay for play, meaning the recommended venues aren't paying to be listed in the sales.

This past March, Gilt Groupe hosted a special Wedding Weekend in collaboration with Martha Stewart Weddings, offering sales from luxury designers Carolina Herrera, Amsale and Thread, among others, on everything bridal from dresses to shoes to jewelry, men's suits and even special honeymoon packages via Jetsetter.

iPhone and iPad apps accounting for less than 10% of sales may seem small, but when you keep in mind that the projected revenue for Gilt Groupe this year alone is more than $500 million, those small percentages add up to large numbers very quickly. Not too shabby for a company less than three years old.

Time still remains the ultimate luxury. As people continue to grow accustomed to using mobile phones to do more than just make a call, the ability to research, make purchases, and sign contracts via their cell phones will become a basic customer service expectation rather than a high-tech value add. When a bride can buy her Louboutins via her phone, she will expect that level of convenience across the board. Is your business ready for social media beyond the computer?

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