Less Conventional Bags Are Now More Common Accessories, Reports NPD

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Spring backpack styles at baggallini

Spring backpack styles at baggallini

Port WashingtonWomen’s handbags may account for 49% of all handbags sold in the United States, but for 2014 it was men’s bags that showed the most growth.

According to The NPD Group Inc., bags worn by men—especially sport equipment and handbags—had double-digit increases in the $11.5 billion total U.S. handbag market for the 12 months ended December 2014.

In 2014, 5% fewer handbags were sold for use by women than in the prior 12-month period, noteworthy for a category that represents 65% of women’s bag sales.

Although they are much smaller segments of the market, backpacks, duffel bags, and messenger bags gained popularity among women this year. Unisex bags that appeal to both men and women are among the top growth categories, particularly in the athletic and outdoor specialty channels*.

“Fashion and function must come together to appeal to today’s always on-the-go consumer,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Male or female, consumers are carrying a lot of things around with them, and want a bag that looks good while also meeting their multifunctional needs.”

npdbagsBags worn by men accounted for $2.3 billion in sales in 2014, nearly one quarter of total industry results. The double-digit unit and dollar sales increases in 2014 clearly make the men’s segment the one to watch this year.

Men are purchasing more bags than ever before, and wearing bags of all types. “The bag industry has an opportunity to continue to capture and keep the attention of male and female consumers alike by emphasizing designs that accommodate their lifestyles in both form and function,” added Cohen. “This is especially important now that gas prices are the lowest they have been in a decade, and consumers are on the go even more.”

For addition insights into 2014 handbag business in the United States, check out Accessories magazine’s March 2015 issue which will feature the annual industry census compiled in collaboration with NPD.

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Consumer Tracking Service, 12 months ending December 2014
*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, 12 months ending November 2014

About The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. By combining data assets with unmatched industry expertise, NPD helps clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth.  Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food/foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, and video games.  www.npd.com

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