December 28, 2010, 2:23 PM

Discounts lure luxury goods shoppers online

26% of luxury shoppers prefer the web, according to a new Accenture survey.

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Discounts draw luxury shoppers to the web, suggest new survey results from research and consulting firm Accenture.

A poll of 1,003 adult consumers conducted between Nov. 29 and Dec. 1 found that 41% of respondents shopping for luxury goods rated discounts as the main reason to search the web over stores. Convenience came in second, followed by selection and reliability.

Bricks-and-mortar stores, however, still beat out the web as the most popular place to buy luxury goods, the survey says. 39% of respondents said they plan to buy luxury goods from physical stores, compared with 26% who preferred the web. 35% of respondents did not plan to buy luxury goods. Among the 39% who prefer to shop in person, their favorite types of stores broke down as follows: Mass retailers, 16%; discount retailers, 10%; outlet stores, 6%; specialty retailers, 4%; and luxury brand stores, 3%.

When it comes to influencing purchases, 9% of luxury shoppers say an online ad is most likely to persuade them to buy. The compares with 70% who are most influenced by discounts and sales, 12% by print advertisements, 6% by television ads and 3% news articles.

Many high-end retailers have offered shipping discounts  and deals to shoppers over the holidays to entice them to buy online.

For instance, Neiman Marcus, No. 41 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, recently offered free returns, free gift wrap and free three-day shipping to all online customers. Saks Direct offered free shipping on all orders to all customers.

Overall, sales of jewelry and luxury goods increased 8.4% between Nov. 5 and Dec. 24 compared with the same period last year, according to a separate study by MasterCard Advisors, the consulting arm of the payment card network.

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