LVMH and Chanel inch forward in effort to limit Internet Sales in EU

There’s a major battle going on right now in Europe that involves Louis Vuitton, Chanel & eBay.  The EU is trying to determine exactly how much control rights owners like LV & Chanel have over the distribution and sales of its products on the internet- and on eBay in particular.  Of course, brand owners would love total control- and I’m sure would love to see their things totally removed from eBay and the internet in general.

It’s funny how I actually agree with Bain & Co fashion industry analyst, Andrea Ciccoli when she said:

“Selective distribution, whether real or virtual, has always been fundamental for luxury brands… Not just anyone can sell products by Chanel and Prada in stores and there’s no reason why they should be able to on the Web. It would be like giving people a license to print money.”

I mean, part of what makes luxury companies so desirable is their exclusivity.  I get that.

But, more than ever, consumers are also interested in the investment and resale value of the luxury goods that they purchase.  How well an automobile keeps its value is more than ever a real concern and determining factor for buyers in which car they will buy. This is true for buyers of new cars as well as for automobiles on the secondary market.

There’s been a lot written this year about “investment bags”… and we see this here at Fashionphile.  The economy has turned South, so savvy shoppers more than ever are buying bags that will 1) pass the test of time and 2) will keep their value.  We often get asked which bags keep their value better than others.

Sure hope Karl will think about this in his next meeting with European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes… his last meeting was said to have been instrumental in changing the initial draft of these new regulations in his favor.  Remember, earlier this year when he said that sales on the internet do not allow for “the unique feel and sophistication of luxury materials, refined tailoring and extraordinary attention to detail found in luxury fashion.”

To some extent this may be true- it’s difficult even for luxury companies themselves to mimic the “multi-sensory environment” that one experiences when shopping in a boutique.  But in today’s economy… many are willing to sacrifice a little of that in exchange for softer pricing and more than a season’s variety.

What do you think?

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