Michael Kors took the top spot as the most-sought-after American fashion brand on the Internet, according to Digital Luxury Group, which creates market intelligence for luxury brands.

In “The World Luxury Index American Fashion,” DLG found that Kors captured 19.6 percent of the more than 31 million Internet searches covering 35 U.S. fashion brands in 10 global markets (Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, U.K. and U.S.), using insights from Google, Bing, Yandex and Baidu. The study was conducted from January to June 2012.

This story first appeared in the February 20, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

After Kors, the top 10 was rounded out by Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Vera Wang, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, Diane von Furstenberg, Betsey Johnson and Tom Ford.

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The study found that fashion accessories such as handbags and wallets drove searches for Kors and Jacobs, but interest in Lauren and Klein was more for their apparel lines.

“Search engines better reflect customer interests than social media,” said David Sadigh, founder and chief executive officer of Digital Luxury Group. “The problem with social media is the buzz. Search engines are usually much more accurate in understanding primary interests.” He said the survey was conducted right after the Michael Kors initial public offering “and the brand was booming like crazy.”

Other key findings from DLG’s research include:

• Some 36.1 percent of the global searches were for handbags; 34.9 percent for ready-to-wear; 14.1 percent for wallets; 7.6 percent for shoes, and 5.9 percent for sunglasses.

• U.S. brands are lagging behind European ones when it comes to emerging markets. Only 7.5 percent of global searches from American brands came from BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), whereas 30.5 percent of searches for European brands came from the BRIC markets.

• In China, Michael Kors maintained a dominant position, followed by Tory Burch, Hervé Léger and Marc Jacobs. Burch, for example, is well known for tailoring her luxury merchandise to the local market, while Hervé Léger is known for its popular bandage dresses worn by local celebrities. Handbags represented 51.9 percent of the fashion category interest in China, versus 36.9 percent in the U.S. The study also found that Anna Sui is popular among Chinese consumers, particularly for perfume and cosmetics searches, versus fashion searches.

In Brazil, Calvin Klein came in at number one, followed by Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Diane von Furstenberg and Tom Ford. According to the study, Brazilians are the number-one international shoppers of Calvin Klein in the U.S., due to the fact that Calvin Klein has operated for more than a decade in Brazil. The study also found that brands like Vera Wang and Carolina Herrera benefited from Brazilian brides doing online research and eventually traveling to Miami for designer gowns at better prices than at home.


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