We have been hearing the drumbeat for some time… We are in search of meaningful experiences and, as consumers, we are now comfortable trading our spending on material acquisition for the intangible. As conspicuous consumption falls by the wayside, we increasingly look to acquire memories that include personal connections and meaningful experiences. According to NPD’s 2017 Holiday Purchase Intentions Study, 39 percent of U.S. consumers plan to give intangible, or experiential, gifts this holiday season. Of those consumers, 23 percent plan to purchase a gift to be used for travel.
CiR has found that the Americans have been expanding their horizons with growth in international travel (up 7 percent in the 12 months ending September 2017). According to NPD’s Consumer Tracking Service, luggage is one of the healthiest fashion categories, showing double digit growth this past year. Boomers remain the largest generational segment and CiR finds that those ages 45 ages up represent 56 percent of all U.S. international travelers. However, Millennials are catching up with a 19 percent growth rate – they now represent 27 percent of all dollars spent on luggage. Not to be overlooked, Gen X’s purchasing is sizable as well; growing 13 percent from last year and representing 22 percent of total category dollars. We all seem to be ‘on the go’!
New brands are popping up to address this wanderlust consumer. Luggage pioneers are exploring new ways to enable successful travel. Away.com (Awaytravel.com) offers luggage and travel accessories for the “thoughtful traveler”. Raden (https://www.raden.com/) provides fully tech-enabled functionality from weight sensors to removable built-in phone chargers that connect seamlessly to their mobile app. G-Ro (https://g-ro.com/) has designed luggage with large rugged wheels that can take even the most daunting curb with one pass. Modobags ( http://modobag.com/) has launched a motorized suitcase that scoots you along those long and tedious walks to the gate – “The carry-on that carries you” can start your trip with a smile.
Designer brands are also tossing their hat into the travel ring with expert partnerships. Globe-Trotter and Tiffany & Co. have partnered, offering consumers a limited-edition luggage collection which boasts the brand's iconic 'Tiffany Blue' packaging, while Italian fashion house Fendi produced its first line of elegant hard case luggage with Fendi branded Cuoio Romano leather handles, created in collaboration with Rimowa.
Having just come back from the heart of India, I can attest to the need to streamline my packing. Traveling light and efficiently allows you to leave plenty of room for exotic purchases, and don’t forget to throw in a collapsible nylon bag for any of the overflow, just in case you cannot live without a bit of consumption.