Assorted designer handbags.

The handbag market has continued to lag in the first quarter of 2019, according to a study published by the NPD Group today.

As previously reported by WWD, handbag labels have found it difficult in recent years to gain traction, dictate trends and develop “It” styles. According to NPD, this has resulted in an 11 percent decrease in sales for women’s bags and small accessories.

The forecasting and consulting agency said that tote, crossbody and satchel styles “continue to fuel declines,” while backpacks, wallets and fanny packs are silhouettes on the rise.

Men’s bags and small accessories fared even worse in the first quarter, declining by 19 percent. NPD said the fall-off was mostly due to poor wallet sales, while fanny packs are continuing to grow.

Luggage sales were less dismal, only declining 3 percent “due to losses in units [down 7 percent], while average price grew 4 percent,” the study’s findings read.

“We’re in a different fashion and retail environment, and the accessories market is feeling the pressure of the changes that have occurred. It’s not about finding ‘the next hot trend,’” said Beth Goldstein, NPD’s executive director and industry analyst for accessories and footwear. “Today, it’s about understanding the confluence of factors we need to adjust to in order to move the business back in a positive direction. While there are bright spots, they aren’t quite bright enough to light the path ahead on their own.”

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