As we head into this holiday season, I’m happy to report that there is finally momentum in the fashion accessories market. The declines in the accessories business over the past three years have leveled out a bit - through September, year-over-year trends in all categories have improved, and there are clear bright spots that will carry into the holiday season.
Status Symbols Endure
The women’s designer bag and small personal accessories market remains on fire, up 17 percent in the first ten months of 2018*. This will continue through holiday as the smaller, more “accessible” price point items in this space will be among the most sought after items.
Hands-Free Versatility Lends a Hand
Fashion backpacks, fanny/waist packs, crossbody bags, and shoulder bags and wallets with convertible straps are helping to offset losses from satchels and totes. Consumers have become very passionate about function, so products with more features and brands that promote ease of use and multi-occasion wear this holiday will stand out as offering value, even at high price points.
The luggage business has taken off (pun intended), up 16 percent so far this year.* Consumers are looking for products that make travel easier, and the innovation spanning luggage, bags, and small accessories will propel these products through holiday. Digitally native brands with strong social media presence and storytelling will gain share of both mind and wallet.
Make it Your Own
The ability to customize and personalize everything from jewelry and bags to luggage and small accessories will attract shoppers looking for unique gifts, and inspire self-gifting among those looking to express their own individuality. Brands and retailers are offering lots of opportunities to accessorize accessories this holiday, both in-store and online.
The Danish trend of hygge has fully caught on in the U.S., promoting comfort and coziness for all. I expect the cold-weather accessories business will benefit from this, regardless of how cold and snowy the season is.
Source: The NPD Group/Consumer Tracking
*Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service, January-October 2018