L2, the New York-based research institute, which tracks brands’ competency across various digital platforms and rates their performances annually, has released its 2015 fashion index. As noted by L2 in connection with its most recent ranking, “The 7th annual Digital IQ Index benchmarks the digital performance of 83 luxury brands in the U.S. examining e-commerce, CRM, search marketing, and social media initiatives.” The top ten brands include an interesting array of both luxury and more affordable luxury brands: Burberry, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, Coach, Gucci, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, and Hugo Boss. See some of the other brands, which are ranked and also categorized as "genius" (Burberry and Kate Spade), "gifted," (Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Michael Kors), "average," (Chanel, Dior, Moschino), "challenged" (Proenza Schouler, Givenchy, Miu Miu), and "feeble" (Céline, Chloe), are listed below.
Interestingly, the rankings seem to fly in the face of what we know to be true in the industry - at least in terms of consumer desirability and quarterly revenue reports. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand, Céline, for instance, one of the most sought after in the market for its pricey ready-to-wear and accessories, comes in at number 82. The Phoebe Philo-helmed brand is not pressed for sales, but instead, lacks a social media presence and e-commerce stores, thereby relegating it to the "feeble" classification on L2's list. Hermès is another interesting one. The Paris-based design house has managed to weather the storm of logo fatigue and the overall decline is luxury spending, which has plagued its rivals, and yet, it does not fall within the top ten … or the top fifteen. It lands at number 16, instead, below Kate Spade, Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, Cole Haan, and Hugo Boss - the latter of which recently announced that it expects 2016 sales to miss estimates in the Chinese and U.S. markets.
According to the New York Times's Vanessa Friedman, who makes some very astute observations about the 2015 rankings: "Among the digitally “gifted” brands, 23 in total, were such names as Louis Vuitton (No. 4), Hermès (No. 16), Bottega Veneta (No. 20) and Valentino (No. 25) — all labels that in the past had largely been considered laggards when it came to the digital world. Indeed, apparently since starting its Instagram account, Valentino has posted more than almost any other brand."
Friedman continues on to state: "Indeed, it’s notable that the two brands run by the designers most often viewed as role models for the Instagram age thanks to their gigantic number of followers, Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy and Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, didn’t perform as well as you might expect in the L2 ranking. They came in at No. 53 (Balmain) and No. 73 (Givenchy), the second being at the bottom of the 'challenged' section."