Among high-income U.S. women, Coach is the best-known (70%) and most frequently purchased (24%) brand in the past year, but ranks tenth on the overall LBSI with a score of 7.19. Judith Leiber earns the highest LBSI score (7.72) with exceptional strength in customer evaluations of materials, design and exclusivity. Leiber is also deemed the brand most worthy of premium pricing.

Louis Vuitton earns the second-highest overall LBSI score (7.53), as well as the second-highest level of familiarity (53%), just ahead of Gucci (51%). Vuitton ranks first for its brand heritage, in-store experience and long-term relationship building skills. Newer entrants like Michael Kors are coming on strong, however, with 7.3% of women purchasing a Kors handbag in the past 12 months, compared to 5.5% who purchased Vuitton.

Wealthy U.S. women earning at least $150,000 a year rank 31 luxury handbag brands in the new 2013 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey from the independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute. The LBSI evaluates product quality, design, exclusivity, social status enhancement, as well as considerations of in-store experiences, quality of customer service and worthiness of premium pricing on an average score of 1-10.

Regarding future purchases, Coach remains the leader, with 66% of wealthy U.S. women planning to buy Coach for their next handbag purchase. Michael Kors (56%), Cole Haan (54%) and Longchamp (51%) follow as the handbag brands most likely to be purchased next.

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