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Luxury Brands Are Running Out of Excuses for Avoiding the Internet

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Photo: Driely S.

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Hermès has 1 million Instagram followers but has only posted 637 times, and their last post appears to be four weeks ago. Should Hermès and other e-commerce-shy brands get more active on social media? According to the Washington Post, a new report from consulting firm McKinsey & Company suggests that luxury brands should rethink the strategy of rarely posting to preserve exclusivity.

The McKinsey team found that for every image posted on Instagram by a luxury brand, consumers shared an average of 10,000 more posts about the brand. "Many luxury retailers have kept only a quiet presence in the online channel to keep tight control over their brand images. But this finding perhaps illustrates that this strategy is not helping them retain control, but is actually helping them lose influence over the brand by ceding their storytelling to others," the Washington Post's Sarah Halzack writes.

Other findings from the McKinsey report detail all the reasons that luxury brands should embrace the internet. The study found that nearly all of the growth in the global luxury goods market in 2014 came from e-commerce purchases, and that three out of four of all luxury purchases were influenced by research online and on social media. Even brands that cater to older shoppers should consider that, according to McKinsey, luxury buyers from both the Baby Boomer and millennial generation spent an equal amount of leisure time online.

"It’s a quite traditional industry where customer experience has always been paramount," McKinsey's Nathalie Remy told the Washington Post. "But today, the definition of customer service for the 21st-century shopper is not exactly what it used to be."