From handbags to sunglasses, luggage to diaper bags, keychains to lipstick cases, The NPD Group knows what accessories are selling, where they’re selling best, and who is doing the buying.
Because we collect information from more than 1,200 retailer partners representing 165,000 stores worldwide and field 12 million consumer surveys each year, The NPD Group is recognized by the industry, the media, and others as the leading source of research and solutions for the fashion accessories markets.
We take our robust data and industry expertise and combine it with your data or third-party data to address your business issues, from opportunity identification to program evaluation.
Track sales of accessories in department stores and national chains. The NPD Group delivers the most detailed point-of-sale (POS) information available in the accessories industry to guide your critical business decisions.
Understand who is buying accessories, and how, why, and where they are shopping. Based on market research information straight from consumers, the service delivers an unmatched view across all retail channels in the U.S. In Canada, the Consumer Tracking Service focuses on apparel.
Account Level Reports
These reports enable retailers who choose this option to share their information with approved vendors, allowing vendors to analyze business performance at specific retailers down to the item level in many instances. By making this report available to their vendors, retailers can work together with them to optimize performance. These reports may only be made available with the express permission of the retailer.
Checkout delivers the most comprehensive view of consumer purchase behavior for general merchandise categories, across all retailers over time, to help you understand how to adjust your marketing to fuel growth. Checkout E-commerce offers the most complete and accurate view of the online channel – including first and third-party sales for Amazon and other marketplaces, 400+ e-commerce retailers including direct-to-consumer, and an early read on emerging players.
NPD’s Analytic Solutions group includes senior leaders with extensive experience developing and delivering analytic solutions that help clients predict areas of risk and growth to improve marketing and product development. By combining NPD’s unique data assets and industry expertise with state-of-the-discipline research techniques and proprietary solutions, our Analytic Solutions team is able to answer clients’ most pressing business questions.
This report combines our retail point-of-sale information with Stylitics reporting on the ClosetSpace app. Pinpoint latest trends and emerging areas of growth in the handbag market. Learn which items to keep an eye on – and get expert analysis on what the trends really mean.
The three key components of the $334 billion retail fashion segment, apparel, footwear, and fashion accessories, are each in different positions when it comes to the business, according to leading global information company The NPD Group. The apparel industry, which represents 65 percent of total U.S. retail fashion dollar sales and spans everything from basics to jeans, continues to enjoy the consistent growth experienced over the past few years. Conversely, the more trend-driven footwear and fashion accessories industries are now experiencing sales declines, keeping overall retail fashion sales in the 12 months ending February 2017 even with results from the prior year.
Sales of smaller size handbags are on the rise and smaller money accessories, like card cases and coin purses, are cashing in on the trend. According to The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Dollar sales of money accessories – other than wallets – increased 13 percent, to almost $23 million in the 12 months ending October 2016.
The NPD Group, a global provider of information and advisory services, today announced that it has acquired Brazil-based Sim2M, a South American leader in market research for the toys industry. The acquisition by NPD’s Brazilian subsidiary, NPD Brasil Market Research Services Ltda., expands NPD’s global footprint, reinforcing its position as the preeminent provider of toys industry market research.
In the 12 months ending September 2016, premium point-and-shoot cameras and instant print cameras are two of the categories that have experienced growing dollar sales, as camera makers focus on offering unique products targeted to specific customer needs and interests. According to global information company The NPD Group, sales of premium point-and-shoot cameras (priced above $1,000) have grown 24 percent over the last 12 months (ending September 2016), led by Sony, Fujifilm and Leica. Separately, the resurgence of a retro trend – instant print cameras – has led to an increase of 148 percent in sales during that same period.
One-third of the handbags purchased in the U.S. in the 12 months ending June 2016 did not have a visible logo, according to The NPD Group, a leading global information company. The sales of handbags without a visible logo increased their share of the market in the past year, and this is a style trend that is crossing generations.
The Millennial Consumer’s Handbag Shopping Journey is More Like Buying a Car than Clothing, Reports NPD
The Millennial customer treats a handbag purchase as a multi-step process, and 41 percent said they started thinking about their most recent handbag purchase more than a month in advance, according to a new report from global information company The NPD Group, created in partnership with Stylitics. The New Handbag Customer Revealed 2016 study examines the closets and mindset of Millennial women to understand their needs, aspirations, inspirations, and the triggers that make them purchase.
The back-to-school season now includes more options for the consumer than ever before. We took a look at how U.S. consumers shopped for back-to-school products in 2017 to help you plan for the 2018 season.
The back-to-school season isn't about one-stop shopping anymore. Find out what it is about these days.
As U.S. consumers become more watchful of their diets, new eating trends are emerging. Take a look at some of our latest insights to understand the evolution of public health and wellness.
Understanding what diet and health-conscious consumers really think and feel and how they act is critical to keeping a pulse on social trends.
As the small personal accessories market continues its growth, it is important to stay ahead of trends and see hot categories up close.
The U.S. handbag market is changing fast. Consumer preferences, particularly among Millennials, are changing rapidly. To outsmart competitors, it’s critical for you to understand what’s happening, anticipate changes, and constantly refine your strategies.
See new insights that go against traditional expectations of the handbag customer. Learn about the evolving handbag shopping journey!
Back in the day -- and we mean the mythical, halcyon days of small-town America -- shopkeepers were among the core, central figures in a community. Their prestige came from their well-recognized knowledge of the truths surrounding any given family.
The retail world is obsessed with Millennials.
Our futures are no longer dictated by the sex organs we’re born with. Girls can be anything they want to be, whether a professional rugby player, engineer, CEO of a startup, or President of the United States. Boys can be artists, dancers, full-time fathers, and nurses. A macho male Olympian can transition into a beautiful woman. A graceful female model can develop facial hair and big muscles. The boys-don’t-cry era is behind us, and gender and sexuality are no longer the black and white concepts they were years ago.
Insights and Opinions from our Analysts and Experts
Fashion footwear and accessories players are looking for opportunity in 2018, following a soft 2017. I expect fashion footwear sales in the U.S. to improve slightly and fashion accessories, such as bags and jewelry, to contract a bit more. But, there are and will continue to be successes in both markets if brands and retailers focus on comfort, convenience, and curation.
Comfort is not just an added benefit anymore – it’s a necessity. Consumers have grown accustomed to wearing activewear and sneakers, and they don’t want to give up that comfort when they are wearing boots or dress shoes. Closing out 2017, the women’s active/leisure and comfort brand segments together grew seven percent in an overall flat women’s fashion footwear market. In addition, women’s designer continues to be a key growth area – led by sneakers, as well as fashion boots and mules with low-mid heels. And, particularly in the men’s space, the bridge segment is being driven by brands that have incorporated athletic and comfort elements into their dress and casual styles. This momentum in sport leisure and comfort will continue into 2018.
In accessories, the idea of comfort has manifested itself in the growth of backpacks for adult wearers over the age of 25, particularly for work and travel (or anytime).* In 2018, we will see more convertible styles, and new entrants into the market will steal share as the major players in the bag market fall behind in terms of innovation.
Function and versatility is top of mind (think Instant Pot!). Similar to their housewares and technology, consumers are also looking for their footwear and accessories to do more than one thing, or to perform in a variety of conditions. Consumers will place value on features such as weatherproofing, ability to style multiple ways (i.e. adjust the boot shaft height or straps), and year-round relevance.
Bags, luggage, and small personal accessories must meet the demands of busy lifestyles, offering fashion along with functional elements – lightweight materials, multiple straps to keep hands free, and pockets to organize tech and other daily essentials are the kinds of features consumers will be seeking. The designer market will not be immune to these demands.
Expect tighter assortments. Retailers are looking to keep demand high and inventories under control. Personalization options will increase in footwear, bags, and jewelry. But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, direct-to-consumer start-ups like Allbirds, Rothy’s, and Away offer very focused selections of feature-rich products, meant to appeal to broad target audiences by solving problems that they didn’t even know they had. More established brands need to sharpen their stories.
In 2018, consumers will be asking, “What have you done for me lately?” And in response, footwear and accessories brands and retailers must be thinking about how their products will fit into and enhance everyday life. Messaging and shopping experiences that address this focus will be critical. Consumers are willing to spend, but they want their dollars to go further. If you can demonstrate more than one of the three C’s, you’ll be on track to take share.
The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service, 3 months ending December 2017
*The NPD Group / Consumer Tracking Service, 6 months ending December 2017
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.
Sneakers! Mules! Over the Knee Boots! Ankle Booties! Over the past few years it seems that every fashion conversation starts and ends with footwear. Today we build our wardrobe around what we have on our feet so it’s no surprise that specialty apparel retailers have taken note and have added footwear to their assortment.
Footwear in Canada is outperforming and growing 3X faster than the apparel industry. So when growth is being sought out, it seems like a natural approach to expand into footwear.
The thing is, the footwear market is evolving faster than the apparel Industry and the growth is being driven by consumer demand and a growing tendency to “see now, buy now”. Footwear is now about how fast can you produce the must have shoe that was just seen on the runways or on the top coveted influencer. A movement that was coined “fast fashion” in the apparel industry has hit the footwear industry. This “fast fashion” is the outcome of consumer demand and is driven by the expectation of having what they want when they want it.
In today’s footwear market, if you missed the shoe of the season you might have missed the season, and catching the trend at the tail end of the cycle can result in big markdowns, or the dreaded look of being stale and passé.
This past August I walked the FN PLATRFORM show in Las Vegas, scouting what the brands had to offer and what occurred was every brand had the same 4 styles: the minimalist sneaker, the slide, the mule and the open toe ankle bootie.
And for those stand out brands that were showing something new and were keeping up with what the “influencers” were wearing…I wanted it right now! Traditionally the footwear that was being shown in August at Platform would only hit the stores in the spring. So how fast does fast footwear need to be to keep up with consumer demand? And why is the industry working on a cycle that is behind the cycle demanded by the consumer?
If these traditional footwear manufacturers cannot keep up with demand, then the apparel specialty stores might just be able to steal some of the share.
Fashion trends are a funny thing. Whether it’s mom jeans or bomber jackets, rompers or Birkenstock’s, you never quite know what the next “in thing” will be.
Well earlier this week as I was on my way to the office I caught a glimpse of something that caught my eye…a young, hip looking guy was sporting trendy jeans and a pair of Stan Smiths with a tee adorned with a large Levi’s logo. The same day on my way home from the office I noticed yet another young gentleman wearing the exact same tee as he peddled his fixie around town. Coincidence? I think not.
Intrigued, I decided to take to social media to see if I could find any more proof of this new “it thing”. As I scrolled through my Instagram feed, I noticed something rather “fresh”, or for those of us that have already lived through it before shall we say “old school”. Right before my eyes I was seeing dozens of posts featuring young, hip girls and guys sporting unisex heritage branded tees with large logos.
Interestingly, it seems NPD data supports my observation. In Canada, within the new millennial category (aged 21-33) branded logo tees grew 3 times faster than basic tees in the first 5 months of the year. And with this segment being the only segment posting growth in the non-active market (year to date), it’s no wonder that brands and retailers are taking action and wanting a piece of the pie.
For example, in honor of Canada 150, Club Monaco launched the #ClubThrowback collection which was a collection of basic tees and sweats featuring their vintage heritage logo, available exclusively and limited to some Canadian Brick and Mortar stores. Another example is the Canadian retailer Simons that has the exclusive for Canada with the 80’s brand Vuarnet, and we cannot forget beloved 90’s brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger that are the natural choice for these branded logo tees.
It seems that both my observations and the data confirm that Norm Core is in full effect! Now it’s time for me to go out and buy a full-size logo tee to add to my wardrobe.
I’ve finally done it. I had to. My shoulders couldn’t take it anymore. What major life change am I referring to? I made the switch from tote bag to backpack for work and travel. And it’s great.
It took me a long time to find the right backpack – not too bulky, and something that wouldn’t make me look like I was heading to class instead of to the office. There actually isn’t a lot out there that fit the bill. With the exception of a few brands that are actively fusing fashion with function, most fashion backpacks can’t accommodate all that is needed for the workday (and beyond), which is what I attribute the seven percent backpack sales decline to during the three months ending February 2017. And, this decline happened despite the fact that we are seeing more backpacks in-store and on the street, from designer to mainstream.
First, I want to put the backpack sales decline into perspective. The overall bag category is having one of its toughest years in recent history. Dollar sales of women’s and unisex bags declined 18 percent in the three months ending February 2017, so the backpack segment outperformed the total bags business during this period. In addition, compared to two years ago, backpack sales are up 60 percent.
The more recent decline troubles me because I would expect the backpack category to be experiencing continued growth. Coming off of the strong growth last year, retailers bumped up their backpack assortments; the average number of items sold in stores where backpacks are carried grew 18 percent. This increased assortment did not lead to more sales, meaning the sales velocity per item (a measure of how fast an item sells) decreased. It’s not a good sign when more items are available but we see lower sales. This suggests that despite the fact that brands and retailers are giving us more backpack options, they might not be the right options.
I see the problem as a fashion vs. function disconnect. The major fashion bag brands have an opportunity to infuse more features, like convertible straps or room for a laptop, into their backpack styles, or risk losing their consumer. New brands are entering the market, and brands more traditionally focused on function (like athletic and luggage brands) are now upping their style game. On a positive note, there are some leading indicators that the softness in this category might be reversed soon. The Middle Atlantic and Pacific census divisions, two very important regions when it comes to fashion trends, are seeing an increase in velocity per item for fashion backpack styles – meaning these items are selling faster in the most recent 3 month time period than they did last year.
Sure I’ll still tap into my handbag collection for other occasions, but for my commute and travel, I’m now hooked on the backpack. The industry needs to give consumers a reason to buy something new before the category can see bigger and better growth. This includes brands and retailers focusing on the features and benefits that busy consumers value.
Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service, 3 months ending February 2017 – Fashion and Everyday/Lifestyle Backpacks; Better, Bridge, and Designer brand classifications
This year will be one full of change for fashion at retail – some is overdue, some is driven, but all of it is necessary. The days of the consumer following trends have faded. Consumers are now creating their own looks, seeking apparel, footwear, and accessories that fit into their lifestyle, not the other way around.
Active will enter its second generation in 2017. Active apparel companies will transform their product to be less focused on performance and more focused on lifestyle. At the same time, lifestyle brands will try to become more active-oriented.
Footwear fusion will be the key. The hybrid approach to activewear will carry over to footwear in 2017 as well. The focus for feet will be less about dress and more about innovation and comfort.
Casualization will give pajamas new function. The next generation of casualization will mainstream the use of pajamas as weekend wear. This is not a new concept – college students have been doing this for years – but now it will be embraced by those who didn’t just have an all-nighter cramming for a final.
The little things will matter. Consumers will continue to focus less on mid-range purchases, and more on big and small spends. It’s the latter that will benefit fashion accessories. The affordable splurge on a wristlet or keyfob will maintain its appeal from 2016.
Organic fibers will come to the rescue of activewear, and our noses. The apparel industry will begin to rebel against the negative properties of activewear, such as smell. Look for increased promotion of organic fibers calling synthetic fibers out on their challenges with odor and durability.
Struggle and success will weave together for denim this year. Denim has been on the rebound over the past year, and it will struggle to return to its true glory in 2017. But some brands will fill their pockets and find growth.
There will be an evolution in accessorizing. Technology and innovation have an important place in the world of accessories. The emphasis on carrying a cell phone or tablet in style will be more important than ever. But even the accessories will have to be functional and innovative in order to fit with the current consumer criteria of convenience, need, desire, and price.
Apparel will face a new kind of opponent. The apparel industry will struggle to remain a priority spend, competing for their share of wallet. But it’s not just technology, apparel will go up against intangible purchases too, as younger consumers seek and spend on services and experiences more than ever.
It is natural that every generation evolves. For decades, parents have continued to tell their children how life was so different when they were growing up. However, what seems to be different this time is the role of the child and the use of buzz words like “technology”. In the past 10-15 years children have grown up with technology at their fingertips and have had the ability to access anything at any time.
So how does this affect the #1 category moms spend their money on?
The NPD Group’s Kids Share of Time and Wallet study captures a focused perspective on how children 14 years of age and younger spend their leisure time and the impact that this has on mom’s overall spend.
The study reveals that apparel and accessories capture 27 per cent of moms weekly spend, 36 per cent if you include footwear (9 per cent). That’s 0.36 cents out of every dollar. So why has the Canadian Children’s apparel market continued to face challenges? Children’s apparel and footwear consumers are generally spending more and buying less. With consumers buying less, the fight for dollar share becomes a tougher battle. So how do you win that fight?
Give kids what they want! Twenty-nine per cent of moms who said they spent more on apparel and accessories this year said it was at the request of their child. According to a recent NPD Group study, moms estimate that their children get 50 per cent of what they ask for. Furthermore, 70 per cent of moms purchasing decisions are based on her child’s influence. To win wallet share we must focus on the child.
So what do kids ask for? Knowing that the main influencers in a child’s life are friends, it is important that brands and retailers participate in the interaction of their daily activities to be relevant and part of the conversation.
By understanding how children spend their time we can identify the apparel and footwear trends that cohesively live in their lives. Apparel and footwear should enhance the child’s everyday actions and be a positive part of their daily interaction.
Three quarters of kids watch TV and movies at home; over half of kids watch TV, movies or videos on a mobile device on a weekly basis. Today’s child can now have access to their favorite characters at any time or place, adding to the importance of character licensed apparel and accessories. This is especially evident in the boys’ apparel market as licensed characters and sports have posted double digit growth (based on 12ME April 2016) compared to a year ago.
Girls on the other hand have posted a slight decline in apparel licensed characters and sports (12ME April 2016). With Girls over indexing in reading (non-homework related), listening to music and hobbies like arts & crafts, the influence is more on the creative imagination, confidence building slogans and DIY mix and match.
For footwear we see that the need outweighs the want. As 23 per cent of moms who spent more on footwear said it was at the request of their child. While 68 per cent of moms who spent more on footwear said it was driven by tangible needs, such as a size change or occasion. Moms are also more likely to research footwear online (21per cent) prior to purchasing compared to apparel and accessories (15 per cent ).
Technology has not just become a large part of the child’s daily interaction; it has become a large part of mom’s research process for her future purchases. In fact, 55 per cent of moms research their purchases via reviews on retailer websites before purchasing.
As the child ages, technology takes up more of their share of time. 25 per cent of tweens and over 50 per cent of young teens spend time on a social network via mobile in the average week. Spending time on a social network is the #1 activity they engage in every day. Think Mobile apps, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram when interacting with tweens and young teens.
It’s important to remember that apparel, accessories and footwear are an important part of the child’s daily routine and the more you get to know their daily activities and behaviors, the more you will succeed. Today’s child likes to feel involved in the path to purchase.
The second quarter of the year is generally a transition period for the U.S. athletic footwear industry. In this respect it’s an important time for retailers, as they begin to turn their attention towards the biggest seasons for the industry: back-to-school and holiday. Comparing Q2 2016 to Q2 2015, both dollar and unit sales grew by 5 percent, and sales improved in Q2 from the Q1 trend. This set a healthy pace and one that retailers and manufacturers should be pleased with stepping into the next half of the year.
U.S. Athletic Footwear Results, Q2 2016 vs. Q2 2015
|Wearer||Dollar Sales||Dollars % Change|
Children’s athletic footwear experienced the highest uptick in sales, and was the only wearer segment to see an increase in average selling price. Why is the children’s market performing so well? The answer has much to do with the fact that athletic fashion is now the wardrobe of choice for many adults, translating to consumers seeking the same for their children. Just like their Millennial parents, Gen Z has an affinity and loyalty to sneakers and athletic brands. The growth in categories that carry higher price-points, particularly the classics category, and popularity of teen girls buying boys-sized shoes, is driving much of the positive performance. The results can only get better for children’s footwear as the back-to-school season kicks into high gear.
Segueing into the second half of the year, there are a few key developments that I expect to unfold for back-to-school, and even stretch into the holiday season:
First, classics will continue to shine as the growth story, but brands will have to watch their supply and demand closely. It’s very easy for fashion products to get over supplied, which can really hurt a market.
On the other hand, I expect performance basketball to be challenged, but less so as we begin to lap the fall off in business that started during back-to-school last year.
The running category is seeing a sales boost as some new and exciting performance running products are being introduced now. It’s time to keep an eye out for ‘performance running as fashion’ to make a return.
In terms of brands, Adidas and Under Armour will likely be the standout athletic footwear brands for back-to-school. Both had outstanding results in Q2; Adidas sales increased by 75 percent, while Under Armour sales grew 68 percent.
Many forces are at play within the athletic footwear space today, and as the current momentum picks up more speed in the upcoming months, it will be interesting to see how the back-to-school season, and beyond, unfolds.
Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, April-June 2016
Data is collected from the athletic specialty, sporting goods, chain store, department store, and other channels. Athletic footwear includes the following categories: Sport Leisure, Outdoor, Performance, and Work/Occupational/Safety.
When I ask myself ‘why is loyalty so important’, I look outside of retail for a deeper understanding. I know it’s more than fair to expect that my family and close friends will get more of my time, and probably more of my money when push comes to shove as opposed to a stranger. It goes without saying, and definitely occurs with little resistance on my part. It’s all an innate reaction. So then it all starts to make sense as to why retailers and manufactures alike rely on loyalty as strong customer loyalty translates directly into sales when it comes to the Canadian fashion and apparel industry. Imagine a world where consumers give their time and money without even a second thought? And they came back time and time again?
Let’s take a look at one of the spotlight categories in Canada - both in terms of dollars and units - the women’s activewear category. In this category alone, three-quarters of female consumers, 73 per cent, indicate they are loyal to at least one brand. These loyal consumers will spend about twice as much on a brand they are loyal to, compared with a brand that evokes little or no loyalty. Furthermore, when it comes to repurchase intent in this category, loyal consumers are about 35 per cent more likely to buy again and again, making loyalty important for both growth and sustainability. Now if a retailer can replicate loyalty success amongst all its key categories – the return would be significant across the board.
At the end of the day, in an economy where there is growing uncertainty, political unrest and increasing prices, there is a growing consumer set that want to ensure that every hard earned dollar is going to something that they know, trust and feel good about. On the retailer side, while innovation is key to attracting the consumer initially, what will cause a consumer to not want to go anywhere else time and time again in an economy where there are a multitude of entrants in each category – that loyalty quotient is the answer to leading against the pack.
The journey of buying a handbag “seems closer to buying a car than to buying clothing.” That’s the take of Rohan Deuskar, the Founder and CEO of Stylitics, based on insights from a new study entitled “The New Handbag Consumer Revealed.” The NPD Group recently partnered with Stylitics, the creator of an app that tracks the contents of 300,000 Millennials’ closets, to understand the factors that influence women as they look to purchase a new bag.
Rohan’s quote might seem a bit extreme, but he was reacting to the findings that are detailed in the “Customer Journey” section of the report. We learned that women are doing an extensive amount of research prior to purchasing a bag, leveraging a number of resources like websites, retail stores and social media. It is a rational process, as handbags of course serve a functional purpose, but they also serve an emotional one. A woman considers the purchase to be an investment in her style and personality, regardless of price point, and she does not want to make a wrong choice. Just like buying a car, it’s a very personal choice. I can relate to this, and studying the findings of this research offered me the opportunity to do a bit of soul-searching, comparing my own behaviors to those of the women that were surveyed and interviewed, and I learned a few things about myself. What follows is an exclusive tell-all about my handbag ownership and buying behaviors.
The biggest revelation for me was that I’m a “Status Seeker” (there – I said it!). In terms of my closet inventory (the brands that I own and have purchased recently), I fall into the “Luxury Seeker” sub-segment. This means that most of the brands I own are from the Status brand group, but like the typical Luxury Seeker, I do splurge on Designer brands occasionally. That’s where the similarities to buying a car come in – when I’m going to spend a large sum of money that I’ve set aside for a bag, I research for weeks or months before making a decision. Like many of the respondents, I don’t like large logos, but do want others to recognize what I’m carrying (who doesn’t like a little approval from others?). I also learned that I belong to the segment with the smallest collection of handbags (although my husband would never believe it). In this regard, I’m more like a “Luxury Loyalist,” and I suppose my aspiration is to one day have my brand assortment match that of this segment as well.
How much do you know about your current, target, and/or aspirational consumer? How does she approach buying a new bag? Chances are, like I do, she fits into a number of the segments profiled in the study, which means your competition is wider than you may have thought, and that has significant implications on your product and marketing strategies.
And by the way, I’d like to be a loyal luxury car buyer one day too…