According to recent research conducted by the Digital Luxury Group, Michael Kors came out on top as the most searched online boutique brand in America. The data was taken from more than 31 million searches from January to June 2012. The biggest search engines were used to determine the outcome including Google and Bing.
From their results they found that ready-to-wear fashion lines and handbags from were the most popular searches worldwide which appeal to the mass markets. Handbags and purses were found to be most desired in China which made up around 50% of all searches for the luxury items.
The study found that the top five most searched US luxury fashion brands worldwide in 2013 are Michael Kors, followed by Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Vera Wang. Although these brands are highly established names in the west and America, US luxury fashion brands lagged behind European labels in searches conducted by Brazil, China, Russia and India, with European lines gaining 23% more searches. However, Calvin Klein has avoided low search results in Brazil thanks to more than ten years of operations in Brazil. This long standing position in the market has led Brazil to be the number one international buyers of Calvin Klein outside of America.
China became the largest group of luxury consumers in the world in 2012, overtaking America for the first time, with an average family spending an average of 11,000 euro’s to Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong. A study conducted by Bain and Co found that Chinese shoppers bought 60% of luxury goods abroad, with an estimated $7.2 billion spent during the Chinese New Year alone.
So which brands do Chinese buyers most favour? Data from the World Luxury Index – ranking and analysis of the most searched brands within the luxury industry – found that the top three most search for luxury fashion brands in China in 2013 are Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermes Paris. These three iconic western brands all have a rich heritage and highly recognisable logos and branding. Western celebrities and culture have fuelled such brands to become highly desirable for this Chinese market. Louis Vuitton was also named the world’s most valuable luxury brand in 2012 for the seventh year in a row by Millward Brown. The French fashion giant is now worth approximately £25.9 billion. The luxury brand has managed to steer away from niche markets and into the mass markets by introducing ready-to-wear clothing under the artistic direction of the relatively young designer, Marc Jacobs.
Forecasts suggest that male Chinese buyers will continue to dominate overall sales. However these sales are suggested to shift away from the upper classes and into the emerging upper middle classes with an average salary of around $89,000. This demographic has a keen interest in more individual luxury segments such as leather goods, fashion and personal accessories.
In the hopes of gaining more interest in China, many recognisable American stores along Madison Square Avenue, Fifth Avenue and other areas have taken part in the 2013 Chinese New Year, the year of the water snake, with fitting themes, displays and products. This strategic tailoring towards the Chinese market has been implemented since 2011 and is set to last as China continues to dominate the luxury markets. However, with more European designers emerging every year such as Serge Denimes and Zoe Lee, America will have to work hard in order to compete against the long standing heritage of European fashion.
Laura Booker is a freelance copywriter from London. Her passions include art, photography and mango sorbet.