Handbag sales in the U.S. are making a big rebound, according to a new study.
Handbag sales revenue is nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels, according to data issued by the market research firm The NPD Group.
Category revenue from March through August 2021 was just 2 percent off 2019 levels during the same period, said experts.
“Consumers are treating themselves as they return to more of their normal pre-pandemic behaviors. They are also willing to trade up because they have more money to spend, after staying at home for months on end,” said NPD fashion footwear and accessories analyst, Beth Goldstein.
The bags making the most money are those associated with going out and special occasions. Other styles like totes, used for long-haul days taking shoppers from day to night, are not performing as strongly for retailers, said the study.
Data showed that retail revenues from shoulder bags over this spring and summer seasons exceeded 2019 levels by 14 percent, and similarly, crossbody bags were up 7 percent over 2019 numbers. Clutches saw a 2 percent increase over 2019 revenues and cosmetic bags are up 48 percent. But satchels are down 5 percent and totes 1 percent.
NPD says sales revenue is showing stronger metrics than general unit sales because of the rising cost of goods in 2021.
“The handbag market was already declining in 2019 prior to the pandemic, as the retail environment became heavily promotional. Some brands had fallen out of favor, and consumers were prioritizing other categories, like athleisure and technology. Fast-forward to today and we see fewer promotions, thanks to growing demand coupled with tight inventory. Rising manufacturer selling prices, caused by materials- and labor-cost increases, rounded out the list of factors contributing to the revenue improvement for the handbags and personal accessories market,” Goldstein said.