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Can online chatter predict the next hot handbag? The results of a report by Credit Suisse and NetBase analyzing handbag mentions from over 200 million English-speaking blogs, chat rooms, and media outlets shocked New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman. The bank and analytics firm have been tracking the data over the past 27 months in order to advise clients about what brands may be popular with shoppers in the future.
According to the research, Ralph Lauren, Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors currently lead the hottest handbag pack. Marc Jacobs and Kate Spade are least hot, and Hermès is so uncool. It was ranked dead last in the handbag momentum chart, last in luxury brand momentum, and first in negative comments about luxury brands. People still love Louis Vuitton, though, using the terms "gorgeous," "best," and "love" 36% of the time online. Weirdly, Calvin Klein blew the other premium handbag brands out of the water in terms of growth.
What does it all mean? Friedman is skeptical as to whether the handbag chatters are the same people who actually buy the bags, especially Hermès. Credit Suisse thinks that the Hermès strategy of avoiding online chat in favor of exclusivity could be a risky move. And now that brands know that online talk is being tracked and analyzed, Friedman wonders, will they try to control the conversation?
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