Luxury goods companies need to enhance their e-commerce offer if they are to cash in on a forecast boom in sales over the next few years, according to new research.

The new Global Luxury Retailing report from Verdict Research predicts a 65% increase in spending on luxury goods by 2015, with retail expenditure in 2011 rising 17.3%, well above last year’s 9.8% increase.

China is “threatening” to become the world’s largest single luxury market, the report says, but Europe will remain the largest region for luxury goods consumption until at least 2015, despite a continued loss of share.

Much of that is being caused by rapid growth in Asia-Pacific, which (excluding Japan) overtook the Americas as the second biggest region during 2010, boosted by new demand in countries like South Korea, Taiwan and, to a lesser extent, India.

Luxury goods businesses have invested heavily in these emerging markets, said Verdict, but many had failed to prepare properly for the e-commerce and digital marketing opportunities.

“Initially, luxury houses were sceptical about launching transactional websites, but now the great majority of luxury players have at least a limited online offer,” said Ruta Perveneckaite, retail analyst at Verdict Research.

“However, there remains much confusion in the luxury goods sector surrounding how to guarantee a premium service online, and there is a distinct reluctance to engage customers through digital marketing and mobile platforms.

“The launch of an attractive website and secure payment processes does not equate to a luxury experience; it requires excellent customer support, top-quality presentation of goods, and more delivery options to satisfy its time-pressured clientele.”