Luxury and Marketplaces Online: A Difficult Relationship or a Prosperous Future? Analysis of the Mindset of Stakeholders Starting From the Controversies of the Coty Case

Matteo Migliarese

Student thesis: Master thesis


Luxury brands have always been reluctant towards the idea of using the Internet in their everyday life. The characteristics that constitute the foundations of this sector, and the values that the idea of luxury itself shares, have more than once been perceived as incompatible with those of the online environment by both scholars and managers. Concepts such as exclusivity and privilege, that luxury brands create and preserve, can be lost in a virtual space where consumers can purchase anything fast, with almost no interactions or buying experience. The situation is even worse, for producers, on marketplaces since the popularity and success of these platforms have raised interest among retailers of luxury companies, creating conflicts with the producers, such as the Coty case brought in front of the CJEU. This thesis starts from this case to understand the reasons and background of this dispute in the European environment and investigates what are the views on the sale of luxury products on marketplaces of the three most important players involved: the luxury brands, the consumers and the Courts. The aim of the researcher is to summarize these mindsets and to discuss them together, ultimately to predict if future disputes should be expected or a common solution might satisfy the needs and interests of all three. In order to reach these objectives, the thesis answers three different research questions, one for every group, where the data gathered are discussed. Data are collected, following the philosophy of the researcher, utilizing a semi-structured interview for managers of luxury brands, an online questionnaire for the consumers and finally secondary data on CJEU cases and legislations for the last group. According to the values that consumers have towards luxury and marketplaces, together with those that luxury brands want to protect in their products, and thanks to the more economic view of interpreting disputes from the CJEU, the thesis will conclude how specific marketplaces can fit the expectation of every groups. These findings can help managers in the next future to better understand which channels to approach, how, and they can enrich the academic literature regarding a relationship still new and not widely studied.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages113