Monday, March 20, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Fix

What's Happening With Handbags?!

Over the last 2 years, the handbag market has seen its share of struggles.  Brands like Coach and Michael Kors have opened new store after new store, more outlet shops, and even lowered some of their prices.  This sounds good.  Having the numbers to grow your brick and mortar presence is always a good thing.  Or is it?

Alone, growing in brick and mortar is good, but the handbag market suffered a bit last year, growing just around 2%.  Sure, that's hard to see as a struggle in a $9.3billion industry, but best believe, the brands are feeling it.  Some of the reason for the shift is discounting and brand saturation.  Other contributors are the trends toward specialty bags--whether it be a collaboration between Kerry Washington and Aquatalia, or a cause-focused bag focused on an important social issue.  Consumers are increasingly enjoying putting their money behind a cause, and getting style as an added bonus.  

It's hard to think handbags would go out of style.  It really is quite unlikely.  But, like everything else, there are industry ups and downs.  With the rise in e-commerce, retail is experiencing a shift away from traditional shopping.  Marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy are providing challenging circumstances for shopping mall staples like Macy's, Wet Seal, and The Limited.  Now they've had some real struggles!  

Surely in readjusting their prices, and being conscious about bag placement, luxury designers will rebound from this slump they've seen recently.  The question is, how will e-commerce and the "app age" play into their future success?  Marketing gurus certainly have a challenge on their hands.  Retail execs, too.

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