Luxury goods sales through Rakuten LinkShare UK increased 96% in January 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Statistics from the affiliate network show that though average item value has dropped 14% year on year, total order value is up 7%.

Rakuten says that the increase shows that luxury shoppers are taking advantage of sophisticated publisher sites that help them browse hundreds of luxury brands.

Though this growth suggests that interest in smaller, lower-priced luxury items has grown of late, luxury brands have been using smarter e-commerce and digital marketing techniques for some time. 

In 2009 we interviewed MD Bec Clarke about the challenges of selling luxury goods online after the company had spent £2.75m revamping its website with inspirational content, as well as better product photos and features.

Clarke said that the key to overcoming consumers’ reluctance to buy luxury goods online was to build their trust by offering good content, next day delivery, personal shopping assistance and clearly stated contact details for a central London address.

Furthermore, in January we reported on Fabergé’s Big Egg Hunt that used a bespoke smartphone app to direct people to Fabergé eggs hidden in various locations around London.

It followed on from a similar campaign from Jimmy Choo that used social network Foursquare to give clues to the location of pairs of the brand’s newly launched trainers.

Plus, we see Burberry leading the charge in terms of integrated online experiences alongside British luxury retailer Net-A-Porter.

Other stats released by Rakuten LinkShare show that clicks across the network were also up 37% year on year, suggesting that shoppers are spending more time browsing online before committing to a purchase. 

This is supported by previous research from the affiliate network that showed that over half (56%) of consumers check between two to three websites before purchasing an item, with 21% checking more than three websites.