SOURCE: Luxury Institute

November 14, 2006 09:15 ET

Luxury Institute Survey: Wealthy Consumers Rank Nordstrom, Barneys and Neiman Marcus the Luxury Retailers With the Most Effective Websites in 2006

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 14, 2006 -- In a recent Luxury Institute survey, a whopping 93 percent of individuals worth $10 million or more said that they purchased a luxury product over the Internet in the past 12 months. But are luxury retailers' web sites ready for the 2006 holiday season? According to the Luxury Institute's 2006 Luxury Website Effectiveness Index (LWEI) for luxury retailers, Nordstrom, Barneys and Neiman Marcus have the web sites that truly deliver for wealthy consumers. The LWEI incorporates four components of a luxury website's effectiveness: usefulness of content, ease of navigation, overall look and feel, and trust with one's personal information.

The survey measures the impact of the website on three critical "outcome" measures: exceeding visitor's expectations, willingness to recommend the site to people they care about, and improvements in the overall opinion of the brand as a result of the website experience. The research also captures consumer feedback, from those who found the site failed to meet their expectations, on how the website could be improved, as well as reasons consumers say their expectations were exceeded. Importantly, the survey measures the e-commerce experience of each site.

Although wealthy consumers were surveyed about eight leading retailer brands, only six brands, Barneys, Bloomingdales, Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue, had sufficient incidence of visits to be rated.

"Nordstrom's website is the clear winner in the 2006 LWEI," said Milton F. Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury institute. "It ranks first for overall LWEI in three of the four sub-indices. On the index measuring trust with personal information, it ranks third, closely behind Barneys and Bloomingdales. Nordstrom is also the top-ranked site for the outcome metric measuring willingness to recommend the site. Wealthy responders cite the 'excellent customer service' and ease of use. They say the site is 'intuitive,' 'well-organized' and has great products. Respondents like the shipping and return policies."

Barneys' website is also a top performer, ranking second overall for LWEI and first for trust and security. It scores particularly well in each of the three outcome measures. Specifically, it is the top-rated site for exceeding customer expectations and for improving overall brand favorability. Respondents who found that the site exceeded their expectations say the site has excellent quality and images, and is easy to use.

When it comes to actual buying experience, Saks Fifth Avenue is the top-rated site. The website ranks first for easily tracking product shipments, receiving an e-mail order confirmation, having a shopping cart that is easy to use, and products arriving as ordered. Nordstrom's website ranks second overall on the e-commerce index, and first for comfort providing credit card information, ease of returning products, and likelihood of repeat purchases.

A nationally representative sample of 1,611 wealthy consumers was surveyed online. Respondents had an average household income of $298k and average net worth of $2.9m. Survey results are weighted to match the demographic and net worth profile of the same audience according to the latest Survey of Consumer Finances from the Federal Reserve.

About the Luxury Institute

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and objective ratings and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net worth consumer. The Institute provides an impartial portfolio of proprietary publications and research that guides and educates high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. Publications include the monthly Wealth Report, the Luxury Brand Status Index surveys, the Luxury Best Practices surveys and the Luxury Consumer Experience Index surveys. To reach the Luxury institute, please call 646-792-2669, or go to

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