April 9 (Bloomberg) -- When Brazilians look for luxury online, many hunt for crocodiles.
Lacoste, the clothing maker known for its crocodile logo, is the most-searched fashion brand in Brazil, ahead of Calvin Klein and Chanel, according to a report published today by consultant Digital Luxury Group.
As demand slows in Europe and North America, fast-developing economies like Brazil and China are key to growth for makers of expensive discretionary goods. Sales of luxury items in Brazil may grow as much as 25 percent annually in five years, compared with a global growth rate of 4 percent to 6 percent a year through 2015, Bain & Co. estimates.
“Brazilians massively turned to online channels to stay on top of luxury trends” last year, Florent Bondoux, who heads strategy and intelligence at DLG, said in a statement.
DLG analyzed more than 300 luxury brands and 20 million Google Inc. Web searches in the first half of last year.
Calvin Klein and Chanel placed second and third behind Lacoste, which has expanded since Portuguese designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista joined as creative director in 2010. The brand, known for its polo shirts, was bought by Swiss retail-investment company Maus Freres in November.
“Brazilians love casual fashion,” DLG said in the report.
Lacoste is able to make products in the region, which allows it to charge competitive prices, according to DLG. A Lacoste polo there starts at around $100, the researcher said. Imported products are typically 2.5 times more expensive in Brazil than in the U.S. or France, DLG estimates.
Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Prada, Celine and Gucci rounded out the top 10 in fashion in the survey. Brazilian interest in luxury goods grew 24 percent last year, led by cars, according to online searches, DLG said. Brazilians spent $11.9 billion on luxury goods in 2012, with 80 percent of purchases made abroad, mainly in the U.S., says DLG.
Apparel was the most popular fashion category searched for online, followed by bags and wallets, shoes and sunglasses, according to the report.
While casual-wear brands topped the search for clothes, the researchers found that “high-end luxury brands are preferred for handbags.” Vuitton, Michael Kors and Chanel were the three most searched for labels online in the category, DLG said. Celine was fourth ahead of Hermes, maker of the Birkin bag.
In watches, “sports rule” Brazilian preferences, the report said. TAG Heuer, owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, had four of the top 10 most searched for models, including the Carrera, which was the most popular.
Across six luxury categories, including cars, beauty, hospitality and jewelry, four of the top five most searched-for brands online were automakers, DLG said. Volkswagen AG’s Audi was the most popular brand, followed by BMW, MAC Cosmetics, Mercedes-Benz and Range Rover.
Google is the most-used search engine in Brazil with more than 90 percent market share, according to DLG.
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