The sale of luxury items online is set to rocket in the next five years.

This is the outcome of a report from Forrester Research in collaboration with Walpole, which surveyed 178 premium and luxury sector executives in Europe, Asia, and the US.

For those selling online already, their online channel averages 12 per cent of total sales, but these retailers expect this to double to 22 per cent of sales within five years. Just 11 per cent of those selling online derive 30 per cent or more of their sales from this channel. In five years’ time, 36 per cent expect to have hit this web sales mark.

In the longer term, 41 per cent of the companies surveyed said that they expected to sell more goods online than offline in 10 years’ time.

The report’s author, Victoria Bracewell-Lewis, says that, with only a third of the luxury sector selling online – although nearly all brands have a web site – a big opportunity is being missed. Not least because eight out of 10 global affluent and high-net-worth consumers use the internet daily and also research and buy luxury goods and services online on a regular basis.

Forrester advises that executives in the luxury sector need to “stop trying to duplicate the in-store experience online with poorly functional, albeit glitzy, sites; they should, instead, look for opportunities to help customers save time, research and order goods and services and get assistance online and across multiple channels”.