Luxury Brands Start to Take Cryptocurrency Payments

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Online-luxury marketplace

Farfetch Ltd.

FTCH -5.56%

will start accepting cryptocurrency payments, following Gucci and other upmarket brands in embracing Bitcoin and other forms of digital money in a bid to attract younger shoppers.

Farfetch said Friday that “VIP” customers will be able to start paying in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance Coin, as well as four other cryptocurrencies, over the next few months. It plans to extend the option to all U.S. and European customers later this year. Farfetch operates an online marketplace similar to Amazon.com Inc., with products from around 1,400 luxury brands including

Burberry,

Prada

and Versace.

Luxury companies need to be “where the luxury customer is today and where they’ll be tomorrow,” Farfetch Chief Executive

José Neves

said.

Luxury retailers are trying to engage with a new generation of affluent consumers and some have identified cryptocurrency as a way of doing that. A large number of wealthy people under the age of 40 having invested in Bitcoin, according to analysts and companies. That is especially true in the U.S., which several luxury brands have said will be central to their growth efforts over the next few years.

In May, Gucci and Balenciaga, which are owned by

Kering SA,

said they would start taking payments in crypto. Gucci said it would trial cryptocurrency payments in New York and four other U.S. cities, while Balenciaga is launching them in New York and Los Angeles.

This week, Gucci said it was aiming to grow its consumer base among the under-30s, while expanding its digital offerings.

Meanwhile, luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton SE, announced plans in May to accept crypto payments in the U.S.

While luxury e-commerce remains relatively underdeveloped compared with the broader online shopping market, the pandemic significantly boosted luxury consumers’ use of digital channels. Farfetch posted revenues of $2.3 billion last year, a 35% increase on 2020.

Farfetch said it had already tested the use of cryptocurrencies in some physical stores—including Browns, a department store it owns in London—and offered to share its know-how with its brand partners.

The company, which is based in London and listed in New York, has ambitions to become the dominant online platform for luxury retail. It also provides technology services to luxury retailers. In April, Farfetch said it would invest $200 million in Neiman Marcus Group as part of a deal that will see Farfetch upgrade Neiman Marcus-owned Bergdorf Goodman’s digital offering.

Write to Trefor Moss at [email protected]

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