Social Media Marketing in Luxury Retail

Social Media Marketing in Luxury Retail

Izabella M. De Souza (William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ, USA) and Sharmila Pixy Ferris (Department of Communication, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/IJOM.2015040102
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This study examines the potentials of social media marketing for luxury retailers. Social media marketing tactics of three luxury retail brands (Barneys New York,, and Saks Fifth Avenue) were examined across three major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). All posts by the three retailers' posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were recorded on over the course of a week. A content analysis revealed that different social media networks may be effectively used in different ways by luxury retailers. Facebook allows for the greatest connection with consumers (all three retailers had the most followers on Facebook) while Twitter allows for the largest volume of posts; consumer feedback was highest on Instagram. Overall, social media marketing proved an effective, low-cost tool for the three retailers, with payoff well justifying the effort. For example, all three retailers had over 1,200 shares and retweets on Facebook and Twitter.
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The market for all types of luxury goods has been prospering in the last few decades (Truong, 2010). In 2008, the luxury goods market was valued to reach $1 trillion by 2010- a 16% increase from its estimated value in of $840 billion in 2004 (Truong, McColl, & Kitchen, 2009). In segregating the luxury fashion market, growth is also substantial with an estimated market value exceeding $130 billion in 2007 (Fionda & Moore, 2008). This kind of development in the luxury goods market, and the luxury fashion market in particular, may be attributed to factors such as improved unemployment rates, additional disposable income and the growth of the middle class in various countries (Truong, 2010) specially China. The Chinese luxury retail market is of particular note as it is one of the largest consumer markets in the world, noted by The Economist (2014) as being “one of the world’s most sophisticated consumer markets, heavily skewed towards expensive goods” and unique in that it has many online shoppers, with 689 million Internet users in China alone, according to Jones (2014).

The substantial growth in the luxury fashion market warrants a consideration of how advertisers and marketers modify their marketing strategies to promote development. As can be expected in today’s digital world, many companies are turning to social media in order to promote their products. Social media has the advantages of connecting users, and has the ability to share existing or user-generated content from such platforms as social networking sites (SNSs), podcasts, blogs and other channels (Hensel & Deis, 2010).

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