The hottest handbag brands and confirmation bias

Fashion, News and commentaries, Trends

There are times when reports from respected institutions and backed by numbers confirm my gut feel for certain trends whether it’s a down or uptrend. But then, there is the Credit Suisse report abut the hottest handbag brands which goes against so many of my perceptions that I just had to share.

First I have to ask, have you ever heard of anyone waxing poetic about their Ralph Lauren bag? In all of my readings/observations – from blogs, newspaper lifestyle sections, fashion insiders at Instagram and Polyvore – I have *never* encountered a Ralph Lauren bag. But apparently, it is *the* hottest handbag at the moment. Vanessa Friedman (formerly of Financial Times, who I mentioned in this post before) of The New York Times reports that the hottest handbag brands are Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Michael Kors. Furthermore, “Calvin Klein is up 129% since January 2014 and up 166% year over year.” Meanwhile, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade and Hermes are on the downtrend.

The report is a result of a partnership between Credit Suisse and social-media analytics platform NetBase. The study was conducted over a period of 27 months and analyzing over 200-million Internet pages.  According to Friedman, the report not only looked at mentions but also intensity of feeling – “love”, “like” – and also for negative comments.

I would be very interested to see how the report looked at context. For example, tagging a picture or a post can be optimized for search engine results rather than a representation of the message. For example, a picture on Instagram can be tagged several ways: #ootd (outfit of the day), #badass, #KateSpade, #shoes, #handbag. Would an analytics platform then classify this as negative and consider it as a mention of a Kate Spade handbag? I would love to see the original report and better yet, the raw data. More importantly, as Friedman points out, do these mentions translate into actual purchases?

In any case, the numbers are very interesting especially if I’m to embrace confirmation bias such as my belief that Coach is on the up-trend with the appointment of Stuart Vevers as new creative director. Incidentally, Coach stock is up since its earnings call yesterday, if only because the battering of Coach sales is not as bad as analysts have feared.

“Coach’s overall index score for June is below average at 4.36, but the brand has seen rapid growth in recent months, up 21% since January and up 69% year-over-year.” (Credit Suisse)

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