MILAN: Luxury brands can look forward to growth in the next six months as research shows a majority of consumers in New York and Shanghai planning purchases, with email a vital marketing tool.

ContactLab, the Milan-based digital direct marketer, surveyed 922 people in New York aged 25-54, of whom 26% lived in upmarket Manhattan, and 975 people of the same age in Shanghai, 19% of whom lived Shanghai Inner Core, the most upscale area in that city.

It found that 80% of Shanghai residents had purchased at least one luxury item within the past 12 months, and 91% indicated they would buy another luxury item within the next six months. The equivalent figures for New York were 69% and 77% respectively.

"We wanted to compare and contrast these two cities, because they tell us a lot about upcoming trends in other markets," Arianna Galante, director of the agency department at ContactLab, told Luxury Daily.

All the signs were positive, she said: "It's a clear indicator of potential market growth."

Luxury shoppers indicated that their average level of spend on an apparel item was likely to increase sharply, almost doubling to $1,062 in New York, and jumping 74% to $1,759 in Shanghai.

While the proportion of respondents who shopped through both online and offline channels was broadly similar in both cities – 41% in New York and 43% in Shanghai – three times as many New Yorkers were online only shoppers (13% vs 4%). They were also less likely to be offline only shoppers (46% vs 53%).

The report said the research process covered official brand websites, advice from family and friends and magazines, while emails attracted the attention of around one third of shoppers.

Galante observed that the luxury had previously neglected email as a strategic channel, but it was becoming increasingly important.

"Brands should localize email, having a clear editorial plan on a global basis but at the same time catering to the tastes of different cultures," she said.

"For luxury brands it means not using email to just push sales, but really communicate the brand story, talking about heritage, craftsmanship, history, making email marketing programs more intricate and more relevant to each consumer, because that's what luxury is," she added.

Data sourced from Contactlab, Luxury Daily; additional content by Warc staff