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Posted Date: 7/23/2010

The Apparel Top 50: Rankings by Social Media Popularity

By Jordan K. Speer

This month Apparel released its annual Apparel Top 50, tracking the apparel industry's most profitable U.S. public firms with sales of $100 million-plus, and this year we've put a new twist on the popular report, focusing on social media.

The Top 50 apparel companies are engaging with their customers like never before. They are reaching out to them via Facebook and Twitter, and establishing blogs on their web sites. Companies are cultivating online communities hoping to tap into the daily lives, experiences and emotions of their customers and turn that connection into a positive shopping transaction.

In observing the increasing number of Top 50 companies with a Facebook or Twitter presence, we became curious. Just how many Facebook fans were flocking to these sites? Who was listening to their tweets? And was there a relationship between number of fans and profitability? 

We decided to find out. It was time to chart the phenomenal growth in this channel, and this year we've thrown our Top 50 most profitable firms into the midst of another ranking, to see how those same 50 firms stack up when it comes to their popularity on Facebook and Twitter.

(Of the most well-known social networking sites, including MySpace, YouTube and Flickr, these two appeared most frequently on the web sites of the Top 50 companies.)

The link below will lead you to two charts ranking the Top 50 by number of Facebook fans, and number of Twitter followers, respectively. Keep in mind that this is a snapshot in time: these numbers were recorded during the last week of June and first week of July, and change on a moment-by-moment basis.

Also, it's worth noting that a complete apples-to-apples comparison is not possible. Some retailers have multiple store nameplates or brands; some don't. Some do not have a Facebook presence on their corporate site, but have an individual presence for each brand, while others have a presence for some brands but not others. Some have Facebook fans, but not Twitter followers. In each case, we recorded the number of fans or followers at the flagship brand, or one of the more popular brands, and that is indicated next to the company name.

So, want to find out which company took the No. 1 spot, with Facebook fans numbering more than 4.7 million? Want to know which company took the No. 3 spot, with more than 1.3 million fans, despite the fact that it barely eked out a profit and just hung on to the Top 50 chart?

You can find out now by downloading the attached chart.


Jordan K. Speer is Editor in Chief of Apparel. If you have any questions about this report, please contact her at jspeer@apparelmag.com.


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