New methodologies and technological advances upgrade retailer and consumer statistics, creating the most accurate and complete picture ever of the accessories industry
If there is one thing that the 2011 rollercoaster-of-a-ride holiday season proved, it’s how important it is to keep track of the ebb and flow of merchandise categories when consumers are seemingly scrutinizing every purchase.
That’s why Accessories Magazine and The NPD Group, Inc., a leading research firm, have partnered again on the most comprehensive view of the accessories industry.
In fact, this 2011 Accessories Census Report is the most accurate, best reflection of the accessories marketplace ever, thanks to new methodologies and upgrades prompted by feedback from top retailers.
In revamping the numbers, many of the total sales volume estimates for 2010 actually were lowered than previously published.
“Note, however, that the new reported volumes do not reflect an industry in decline. Quite to the contrary. Exiting calendar year 2011, the accessories industry is enjoying healthy growth with many segments experiencing very healthy growth,” says Mike Kuhl, senior vice president, fashion at The NPD Group.
Among the enhancements reflected in this year’s report are: usage of point-of-sale data to better represent reported industry totals, improved price edits to represent a spectrum of pricepoints—low to high—within each category, and “new consumer projection methodologies that enable better reporting of category trends,” Kuhl explains.
About the 2011 Annual Census Report:
Accessories magazine and the The NPD Group, Inc. have collaborated on all the accessories categories listed in the total chart. In addition to the consumer information collected by NPD, this census contains Accessories magazine’s proprietary research of industry statistics and trends incorporating classifications not surveyed by NPD, such as hairgoods and casual footwear. The Port Washington, NY-based NPD Group is the leading provider of consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. For more information, click www.npd.com.
Key Retail Trends
- The women’s accessories business is well on the road to recovery following the economic downturn. Sales grew 4% on top of a slight decline from the year before.
- Overall, slight average price growth led to the dollar sales increase, as units were flat. However, this varied by category.
- The accessories market performance was driven mainly by strength in the handbags, small leathergoods and sunglasses. In these categories, average price growth contributed to the sales increases since consumers were willing to spend a bit more on quality, branded merchandise.
- Accessories posted the biggest increases of any fashion business last year. Women’s apparel had a 3% increase. Women’s footwear sales were down 1%, primarily due to weakness in the fashion sneaker and winter boot categories. Dress and casual shoe styles, (such as pumps and ballerinas) and boot styles (such as booties and riding boots) were strong.
- A behemoth of accessories, fashion/costume and bridge jewelry represented 35% of women’s accessories sales. Both units and dollars grew 3%.
- Fashion/Sport Watches were a weak spot in 2011, declining 9% vs. 2010.
- The spate of mostly warmer weather last fall and early winter wrecked havoc with some cold weather categories: unit sales of scarves/mufflers declined 16% and gloves/mittens, declined 4%. However, average retail prices grew for both, suggesting that women spent a bit more on the scarves and gloves they did buy–such as fashion scarves and touch-screen-enabled gloves, for example.
- Women’s slippers grew 7%, as a number of fashion footwear brands expanded their slipper offerings and the category has become an increasingly popular holiday item.
- In general, about half of accessories dollar sales were generated on sale, but consumers were most likely to pay full price for small leathergoods, hosiery and sunglasses.
- Online purchasing continues to grow. Watches and slippers had highest penetration of online sales, while sunglasses and hosiery had the lowest.
- Women may have been looking for a more intimate, personalized shopping experience in 2011, as specialty stores gained ground, particularly in fashion/costume and bridge jewelry, fashion watches, and handbags. Department stores did well with sunglasses and gloves/mittens, but lost a bit of share in fashion/costume and bridge jewelry.