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Online Luxury Spending is Up and Rising, NPD Says

Luxury may be taking on new definitions as streetwear and sneakers enter the fray, but spending on higher-end duds is on the rise regardless—and that spending is largely happening online.

In a report released Wednesday, The NPD Group said it’s seeing “significant growth” in online sales of luxury apparel, footwear and accessories in the U.S.

“The luxury market is evolving, new brands are getting attention, and online retailer platforms are elevating the competitive landscape,” NPD chief industry advisor Marshal Cohen said. “The younger, multi-ethnic demographic that is more attracted to purchasing designer products online—even more than the average online accessories, footwear or apparel buyer—is a major contribution to this evolution.”

And apparel, it seems, has been the most major contributor to the growth in spending.

The biggest spending increase in the online luxury market came from apparel, which grew 17 percent, to an average per buyer spend of $716. Spending on fashion accessories ticked up 5 percent to an average $782 per buyer.

It’s footwear, however, that’s commanding most of the luxury consumers’ attention. Almost half of online sales of luxury fashion came from footwear, which has the highest per buyer spend and annual purchase frequency, NPD noted. Average spending for luxury footwear online increased 4 percent to $794, and purchasing frequency inched up slightly to reached 1.6 times per year.

Resale has become a particularly lucrative market for costly, coveted kicks. In 2018, the most valuable sneaker at resale, according to pop culture website, and resale platform Stockx resale, was the Undefeated x Nike Kobe 1 Protro “Flight Jacket,” which sold for $3,904.

“It’s not just about the statement bag anymore, now, thanks to expanded accessibility, the statement shoe is also an area of focus and investment for consumers,” Cohen said. “If we pay attention to what consumers are saying, these new market dynamics spell a great deal of opportunity across the entire luxury fashion market.”