Fashion shoppers seek designer alternatives as cost-of-living bites

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New search data from MediaVision as part of its annual fashion report has revealed ‘bridge’ brands such as Phase Eight, Cos and Birkenstock are growing in popularity over designer brands among fashion consumers.

Not only that, they are overtaking luxury brands such as Chanel and Prada as the economic crunch sees even well-heeled shoppers looking for alternatives to expensive designer labels.

Bridge brands trump designer labels

Bridge brands are those that bridge the gap between mass-produced high street brands and high-end designer labels but are still aspirational.

The data showed that Phase Eight – the bridge brand with the most searches at 5.29 million – saw a year-on-year increase of 5.6%, whereas the most searched for luxury brand, Louis Vuitton, saw a decrease of 4.1% with 4.62 million searches.

The brands with the largest increase in YoY searches were Birkenstock (up by 60%) and Cos, (up by 32.7%).

The only brand to match that figure in the luxury category was Coach, which saw an increase of 30%.

Overall, MediaVision’s top ten luxury brands by search volume saw a collective decrease in YoY searches, even if the numbers are still sizeable.

Gucci saw a decline of 6% with searches totalling 4.16 million compared to 4.43 million in 2021, and search numbers dropped by 4% for the front-runner Louis Vuitton.

Louis Venter, CEO at MediaVision comments: “Fashion sees some of the fastest moving trends. At a time when every penny counts, consumers who have traditionally bought designer labels are rethinking their fashion purchases, demanding aspiration plus value.

“Search data shows that the brands that are benefiting most from this new mood and behaviour are those that operate at the intersection between aspiration, quality and affordability, effectively tapping into a growing desire for ‘affordable luxury’.

“There has never been a better time to be a fashion brand operating in this part of the market as a cohort of luxury consumers faced with the reality of growing financial demands either abandon or buy fewer designer labels and look for alternatives.”

MediaVision’s analysis of the top performing fashion brands of 2022 reveals that the top ten bridge brands amassed over 34.1 million online searches in 2022 compared to the top ten luxury brands, which had just over 17.5 million searches in total.

The analysis of 2022’s most searched for brands was carried out by organic first search agency MediaVision using their proprietary Digital Demand Tracker tool, part of their Metis technology that analyses UK search data from AdWords and Google Trends, and is able to produce search insights four times faster than standard industry SEO tools.

The top ten most searched for bridge brands were:

  1. Phase Eight (5,294,143 online searches)
  2. Boden (4,852,094)
  3. Ted Baker (4,220,723)
  4. Birkenstock (3,738,645)
  5. Reiss (3,426,632)
  6. Cos (3,376,192)
  7. All Saints (3,026,024)
  8. Michael Kors (2,224,124)
  9. Karen Millen (2,062,827)
  10. Hunter (1,879,015)

The top ten most searched for luxury brands were:

  1. Louis Vuitton (4,626,617)
  2. Gucci (4,161,723)
  3. Dior (1,571,343)
  4. Chanel (1,450,905)
  5. Coach (1,344,698)
  6. Burberry (1,151,403)
  7. Prada (1,009,826)
  8. Fendi (760,468)
  9. Moncler (756,706)
  10. Valentino (712,424)