Balenciaga Knocks Gucci Off Top Spot As World’s Hottest Brand


Limei Hoang | October 20, 2021

Singer Justin Bieber features in Balenciaga's latest campaign.Credit: Courtesy of Balenciaga.

The return of physical events has meant the return to crafting a fashion moment, and no brand executed this better than Balenciaga, which made a return to Haute Couture, launched a Fortnite collaboration, and dressed Kim Kardashian for the Met Gala, which caused searches for the brand to rocket by 505 percent in the third quarter of this year.

Balenciaga has knocked Gucci off the top spot as the “hottest brand”, according to a quarterly report that ranks the most popular brands and products, compiled by global fashion shopping platform Lyst.

Its return to Haute Couture after a 53-year hiatus, collaboration with Fortnite, and partnership with Kanye West on the launch of his latest album Donda, all helped to contribute to interest in the brand in the third quarter, and its presence at the Met Gala and a special Simpsons episode at Paris Fashion Week help extend its momentum even after the quarter ended.

"Balenciaga previously topped The Lyst Index in 2018, and this quarter they’re back in first place following a turbocharged three months that saw the revival of haute couture, and powerful activations with Fortnite, The Met Gala and Kanye West’s album launch. The brand spoke authentically to different groups of fashion lovers, and was strongly rooted in culture," said Peter Henderson, Head of The Lyst Index.

The report, which analyses the online shopping behaviour of more than 150 million shoppers a year, browsing and buying fashion across 17,000 designers and stores line, saw a rise in demand for dressier styles, as well as resort wear, as consumers attended more social gatherings together despite the Delta variant of COVID rising and some travel restrictions remaining in place.

The Lyst Index's Hottest Brands in the third quarter.Credit: Courtesy of Lyst.

Gucci came in second, helped by the launch of its digital store Gucci Vault, followed by Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Bottega Veneta, Versace, Fendi, and Saint Laurent.

What remains clear from the data is how all of the top ten hottest brands strove to create key fashion moments during the third quarter, from Dior’s Designer of Dreams exhibition in New York and partnership with Paris Saint-Germain football club to Louis Vuitton’s launch of a mobile game to celebrate its founder’s 200th birthday. Both Versace and Fendi, who collaborated on a surprise “Fendace” collection together at Milan Fashion Week climbed two places in The Lyst Index, holding the 8th and 9th place respectively, demonstrating how important it is for brands to remain a continuous part of the conversation around fashion today.

"The pandemic has fundamentally shifted consumers’ expectations, and The Lyst Index’s hottest brands all understand this," said Henderson. "From the rise of anytime, anywhere brand engagement, to the increasing importance of positive social impact, the hottest brands have balanced innovating to meet these changes with staying true to their core identity. For the hottest brands, digital is at the centre of their universe: they meet consumers and delight them with unique experiences across different devices and platforms."

"The brands which are thriving all stand for something, and have a strong point of view," added Henderson. "This is often related to topics like sustainability, but equally consumers are highly receptive to fantasy, fun and wonder after the challenging year and a half we’ve all had. Looking ahead to the holiday season and key commercial quarter, strong differentiation and digital storytelling becomes even more important for brands as they compete for shoppers' share of wallet."

Sporting moments such as the Olympic Games, EURO 2020, and the US Open were also an opportunity for brands to shine, inspiring shopping during the months of July to September. The Nike sneakers worn by tennis player Emma Raducanu were ranked the 4th hottest women's product and searches for Nike tennis shoes rose by 86 percent after Raducanu won the title.

The report also takes Google search data and rich social media metrics into account, which looks at account brand follower growth and multi-platform mentions of products, as well as engagement statistics worldwide and related keywords over a three month period.

For the full findings from The Lyst Index, please click here.

Welcome to Data Digest, our breakdown of the latest data releases and reports focused on the luxury industry.

Data Digest | Lyst Index