Statistics from the retail and consumer community provide clear insights into the accessories industry
Retailing is a mix of art and science. To harness gut instinct and turn it into a successful strategy takes mastery and experience. But thanks to the rapid advance of digital data collection and other connections to consumers, the science of retailing provides a clearer look into consumers’ minds.
To make Accessories Magazine’s Annual Census Report even more comprehensive this year, we’ve expanded coverage to include consumer purchase information and breakdowns in selling among a wide range of retail channels. This new census information reflects a partnership between Accessories and The NPD Group, the leading global provider of consumer and market research.
In addition to Accessories’ proprietary research—which has been widely cited by business periodicals and utilized by the entire industry for more than two decades—this 2009 census contains consumer information about sales in specific classifications by retail channels, age, pricepoint, etc. By partnering with The NPD Group, this census provides the most complete and comprehensive view of the changing retail scene.
Founded in 1967, NPD provides consumer panel, retail sales tracking services and special custom research across a broad range of industries and accessories classifications, including bags and luggage, watches, jewelry, sunglasses and small leathergoods. NPD also has a retail point-of-sale tracking service that reports style-level sales of women’s and men’s bags in U.S. department stores and national chain stores. The retailers providing this data account for 90 percent of all accessories sales in these channels.
“NPD market research information helps the apparel, footwear and accessories industries understand what, where and why consumers are buying across all retail channels so companies can stay on top of fashion industry trends and effectively connect with the consumer,” says Mike Kuhl, vice president of fashion footwear and accessories at NPD.
“This service addresses a critical information need in the fashion marketplace, bringing continuous and comprehensive monitoring of accessories sales and consumer shopping behavior to the industry.”
Key Retail Trends
• Declines in women’s accessories were less than those experienced in women’s apparel, the NPD reports. Women’s apparel sales fell 5 percent in 2009.
• Some accessories categories posted solid gains, particularly notable are belts and scarves, small leathergoods and umbrellas.
• Fashion/costume and bridge jewelry, which drives 30 percent of women’s accessories sales, declined only 1 percent.
• Marshal Cohen, NPD Group’s chief industry analyst, says the 2009 results point out clues to 2010 and beyond. “While spending less, consumers still want newness and fashion,” he stresses. “The companies that strike the right balance between fashion “magic” and keen business management will be poised to gain and win in 2010.”
• Women between the ages of 34 and 54 are generally the biggest purchasers of most accessories categories. Younger consumers (teens to early 30s), however, now equal the buying power of their older counterparts in a growing number of classifications.
• A shift continues to women’s accessories market share by retail channel. In most classifications, gains were in the mass merchant, off-price/factory outlets/warehouse club channels as consumers continued to look for bargains.
• The drop in unit sales in most classifications— including some that had dollar increases reflects retailers keeping a stronger fix on their inventory levels.
• Consumers are buying closer to the season. Despite a major winter storm that hit the East Coast a week before Christmas, December comp sales rose 3.6 percent from 2008 levels, the International Council of Shopping Centers reports.
• The fact that women’s accessories continue to be a strong impulse purchase, in many instances consumers pay regular price to fulfill their fashion demands.
• While sales of accessories online are on the increase, jewelry and watches are the largest classifications purchased on the Internet.
The 2009 Annual Census Report: Accessories Magazine and The NPD Group have collaborated on all the categories listed in the total chart. In addition to the consumer information gathered by NPD, this census contains Accessories magazine’s proprietary research of industry statistics and trends incorporating classifications not surveyed by NPD, such as hairgoods, slippers 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, visit www.npd.com