Brazilians’ interest in luxury fashion brands is keen and growing, but nearly insurmountable barriers to entry continue to force their upscale purchases to take place abroad.
That’s among the findings of the World Luxury Index on Brazil released today and conducted in partnership with Luxury Society.
In an analysis of more than 20 million Google searches, the study found a 24 percent increase in searches for luxury brands last year, with apparel, accessories, watch, jewelry and beauty brands responsible for 28 — more than half — of the 50 “most-searched-for luxury brands” covered.
Automobiles accounted for just over a third — 17 — of the top 50 slots and were the fastest-growing sector with respect to online searches, according to Florent Bondoux, head of strategy and intelligence at the company. The remaining five brands were in the hotel and hospitality sector, fitting for a population that does so much of its buying outside its own borders.
The market for luxury products inside Brazil last year was estimated at $11.94 billion, but 80 percent of luxury purchases made by Brazilians take place outside the country’s borders, according to Bondoux. That’s because products not sourced in Brazil or one of its partners in the Mercosur trade group — which also includes Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and since late last year Venezuela and Bolivia — carry hefty importation taxes and associated costs. On average, an imported product purchased in Brazil will cost 250 percent more than it would in the U.S. or France. A Porsche Carrera convertible worth $96,200 in the U.S. will sell for about $355,000 in Brazil, the report noted.
However, brands finding ways into the market are making significant progress. MAC Cosmetics, the third most-searched-for brand of the top 50 and the highest nonautomobile one, behind Audi and BMW, entered the Brazilian market in 2002 and operated 25 stores there last year.
Lacoste ranked 16th overall, first in the overarching category of “fashion brands” and second among apparel brands, behind Ralph Lauren and ahead of Armani. Consumer interest, as measured online, grew 78 percent with the brand’s expansion from 130 points of sale in 2007 to over 750 in 2011.
Apparel stands as a subcategory of the larger fashion category. Lacoste’s strong overall finish resulted from representation in multiple classifications of merchandise, including shoes, handbags and sunglasses.
“Lacoste’s products for Brazil are produced with the Mercosur group and it substantially expanded its retail network, including the operation of 80 of its own stores,” said Bondoux. “The most-searched-for product on Google is the brand’s classic French style polo shirt and, at about $100, it’s a strong introductory product.”
Other fashion and beauty brands among the top 50 were: Chanel, 8; Armani, 10; Omega, 12; Rolex, 15; Calvin Klein, 18; Dior, 19; Tag Heuer, 21; Ralph Lauren, 22; Hermès, 23; Gucci, 26; Louis Vuitton, 27; Lancôme, 28; Cartier, 31; Burberry, 32; Swarovski, 33; Make Up For Ever, 34; Prada, 37; Bulgari, 39; Breitling, 40; Céline, 41; Christian Louboutin, 44; Kenzo, 45; Clinique, 46; Dolce & Gabbana, 47, and Michael Kors, 50.
Overall in fashion, Lacoste, Calvin Klein and Chanel ranked first, second and third, while MAC, Chanel and Armani made up the top three in beauty. Omega, Rolex and Tag Heuer took the top spots for watches, while Swarovski, Tiffany & Co. and Cartier topped the jewelry category. Tiffany didn’t crack the top 50 overall. Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors and Chanel rated win, place and show, respectively, in the handbag category.
“While retail sales forecasts are showing single-digit growth, 2012 was marked by the pace at which Brazilian consumers massively turned to online channels to stay on top of luxury trends,” Bondoux said. “Effectively harnessing such an online frenzy represents a key differentiating factor and growth accelerator for global luxury brands in Brazil.”
With demand for luxury high but supply low within Brazil’s borders, Brazilians are voracious consumers of luxury goods and travel extensively. David Sadigh, chief executive officer of Digital Luxury Group, said the firm estimates that nearly 1 million Brazilian tourists visit New York every year. “They are brand conscious, impulsive and much bigger spenders than the average international tourist visiting the Big Apple,” he said. “A strong presence in Brazil will be key for luxury and fashion brands willing to take advantage of this international clientele.”
Yet New York ranks second in Brazilian travel destinations in the Americas, behind Miami but ahead of Cancun, Mexico; Buenos Aires, and Orlando, Fla. According to Euromonitor, Brazilians rank first in per-capita spending among international visitors to New York.
The top European destinations, in order of preference, were Paris, Lisbon, London, Milan and Madrid.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty