Ralph Lauren, Nike find favour with US shoppers

16 April 2010

NEW YORK: Ralph Lauren, Armani and Nike are among the most popular fashion brands with US consumers, a new study has found.

Brand Keys, the consultancy, conducted a survey of 7,500 American adults in order to establish their favourite apparel manufacturers.

Among the female participants, Ralph Lauren topped the charts, with Armani, Chanel, Versace and Donna Karen being among the other companies which enjoyed high levels of positive recall.

Nike, Ralph Lauren and Polo were the labels which found the most favour with their male counterparts, with Brooks Brothers, Levi's and Armani were also included on this list.

However, the overall top spot went to the "favourite sports teams" of respondents, indicating the loyalty shared by the fans of teams competing in the NFL, NBA and other similar competitions.

Elsewhere, Guess, H&M, Diesel and Zara were all well-liked by American shoppers aged between 21 and 34 years old.

Lacoste, Hugo Boss and Coach generated similar approval ratings with 35–44 year olds, as did Yves St Laurent, Izod and Diane Von Furstenberg for the 45–65 year old demographic.

More broadly, some 28% of contributors said that specific brands were now either "more" or "much more" important to them when buying clothing.

This marked a record high over the ten such studies that have been produced by Brand Keys, and compared with the total of just 3% of people who agreed with this statement five years ago.

"What we're seeing is a commoditisation of [the] brand," Robert Passikoff, the founder/president of Brand Keys, said.

"The average consumer can see there really isn't much difference between a polo shirt from Izod, The Gap or Brooks Brothers, so brand marketing has become less and less effective."

"That has given consumers the power to ask 'If it's not the cotton quality and the color and the buttons aren't falling off, what is the value to me?' Brand has become a surrogate for that value."

According to Passikoff, this lack of differentiation among consumers explains why many major fashion brands did feature on the company's rankings.

"Everyone is aware of brands like The Gap. It just isn't important to them," he said.

Data sourced from MediaPost/Brand Keys; additional content by Warc staff