By Christina Binkley
For the second year in a row, Gucci — the Italian luxury brand known for its “kissing G’s” as well as its life-in-the-fast-lane image — is the most searched fashion brand online. That’s according to Microsoft’s Bing search engine, whose research, released today, is part of Bing.com’s annual search-trends list.
In fashion, Chanel fell to fifth position from number two last year – even dropping below the sporty Adidas-owned Y-3 brand.
The research suggests how big a role these luxury brands play in the consciousness of consumers – most of whom are more likely to actually shop at Zara than Louis Vuitton (which ranked fourth in internet searches). The winners were brands that have managed to burnish an image of extreme luxury while selling masses of products that have been carefully priced to be accessible. Hence the millions of Gucci keychains and wallets in consumers’ pockets.
At number two in the ranking, Ralph Lauren may be the perfect example of this phenomenon: consumers may mostly buy Polo or Ralph Lauren Green Label clothes and accessories, but when they’re on the internet, they’re searching for that Ralph Lauren lifestyle. (Not for nothing is scion David Lauren’s storybook wedding to Lauren Bush documented in a multi-page spread in Vogue this month.)
Currying a high-fashion image can even work for an affordable brand. J. Crew., whose annual sales are dwarfed by Banana Republic, was nonetheless seventh on the top-ten search list – while Banana was nowhere at all.
What else can we learn from these searches? At number nine, John Galliano was assuredly being followed for his inebriated antics – slurring ethnic insults at Paris bar patrons – rather than his small eponymous fashion brand. And as for the late Coco Chanel, well, folks just continue to love her.
Top Searched Fashion Brands On Bing.com in 2011:
2. Ralph Lauren
4. Louis Vuitton
7. J. Crew
8. Coco Chanel
9. John Galliano