ECCIA visit to Strasbourg

This week, Walpole is in Strasbourg to discuss issues affecting the luxury industry with our counterparts from within the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance: Spain’s Circulo Fortuny; Comité Colbert of France; the Italian Fondazione Altagamma; and Germany’s Meisterkreis, as well as MEPs from across the EU.

Walpole’s CEO Helen Brocklebank and Charlotte Keesing, Director of Public Affairs and International, are in the official seat of the European Parliament for meetings on Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th June 2018 to confer on topics including protection of IP and governance of the internet, with an emphasis on selective distribution and counterfeiting. It is also an opportunity for us to continue to promote the cultural and creative industries, which luxury sits within, as a key driver of Europe’s overall economic health, competitiveness, innovation and employment.

A busy agenda sees Walpole and other members of the ECCIA visit the European Parliament for meetings with MEPs from across the EU, including Spanish MEP Santiago Fisas Ayxela; MEPs for the UK Julie Ward and Catherine Stihler; Poland MEP Bogdan Wenta; Italian MEP Luigi Morgano; MEP Marc Joulaud of France; and German MEPs Helga Trüpel and Sabine Verheyen. As well as an opportunity to tackle subjects pertaining to our sector, these meetings will further strengthen our political relationships in Europe, something which is of particular importance in the context of Brexit.

More details on the topics under discussion can be found below in the briefing from ECCIA:

Fight against illegal content online

ECCIA welcomed the publication of the European Commission’s Recommendation on “measures to effectively tackle illegal content online”, which sends a clear message to Member States and online platforms that more needs to be done to proactively and swiftly remove illegal content online. This includes intellectual property rights (IPR) infringements, and counterfeiting in particular – which increasingly puts European consumers’ health and safety at risk and damages Europe’s economy. However, rather than creating new obligations for platforms to tackle illegal content online, the European Commission continues to favour a voluntary approach; the ECCIA instead encourages the European Parliament to advocate for a legislative proposal on illegal content.

New Deal for Consumers

ECCIA welcomed the publication of the ”New Deal for Consumers” and fully supports the Commission’s goal to empower consumers, in particular the proposal from the European Commission to oblige online marketplaces to inform consumers about the identity of the seller, in order to improve transparency and to help consumers know their rights and make better informed decisions. In the fight against misleading information, we propose that this obligation also applies after a sale, if new information about the product is provided to the online marketplace. This would concretely mean that once an online marketplace has removed a product from their platform after a notice has been received and accepted, that they also inform those consumers who have already bought or ordered the product in question. We believe that this would fill a gap in the current consumer protection framework, and help to empower consumers to better understand their potential exposure to illicit products and the associated risks to their health and safety. This will ultimately lead to a more trusted ecosystem.

Selective distribution

The development of e-commerce has enabled the luxury industry to propose new, tailor-made, services to its clients, such as solutions that respect their privacy and ensure safe payment, personalised curated content, on- and off-line advice with dedicated, trained staff, high-quality delivery, guarantee of authenticity, fast and seamless returns and high-class after-sale service and advice. The quality of online luxury services has boosted consumers’ confidence in e-commerce and the share online sales of luxury products has been increasing considerably over the last years. The luxury industry is among the pioneers of online creative content creation and has become a major digital player in this regard, notably on all forms of the social media.

Key figures:
The share of online luxury sales will double from 6% in 2014 to 12% in 2020;
By 2025, the share of online luxury sales will triple to 18%, or €70 billion;
41% of customers purchase luxury goods in-store after having researched online;
58% of all luxury products sold are influenced by the customer’s overall digital experience;
With an average of 2.6 million images posted every month on Instagram, luxury items and high-quality food are the most “shared” products on the internet.

In June 2017, ECCIA welcomed the publication of the European Commission’s final report on its e-commerce sector enquiry, which sets out a framework to enable luxury brands to provide customers with the shopping experience they expect, and create an omnichannel experience which reflects the quality and excellence of the product. In December 2017, ECCIA also welcomed the CJEU’s judgement in the Coty case, which reconfirmed the validity and appropriateness of selective distribution for luxury products.

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