Double-digit sales growth among bags worn by men, especially sport equipment bags and handbags, held the $11.5 billion U.S. accessory bag market steady during the 12 months ending December 2014. This occurred despite sales declines in the largest category, women’s handbags, according to global information company, The NPD Group.
In 2014, 5 percent fewer handbags were sold for use by women than in the prior 12-month period, noteworthy for a category that represents 65 percent of women’s bag sales, and 49 percent of all bags sold in the U.S. 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.”
Bags worn by men accounted for $2.3 billion in sales in 2014, nearly one quarter of total industry results. Last year’s double-digit unit and dollar sales increases clearly make the men’s segment the one to watch in 2015. 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.”