A Year in Retrospect: Bag Trends of 2019

The bag industry is facing a huge disruption: independent brands. Yuzefi and Jacquemus are just some of the latest brands to dominate the market - and luxury bag sales have taken a hit. This report is a retrospective view of the bag industry across all segments, uncovering key trends in luxury and fast fashion, as well as in independent brands.

Written by Ashley LooiFebruary 10, 2020

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Introduction

The revenue for the Bags and Accessories market is forecasted to be USD 142 million in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 10.8% over the next 5 years. Moreover, it was found that teens spent an average of USD 90 on bags in 2019.

There has been a major shift in consumer demand, whereby consumers are searching for more than just a bag – they want solutions. Consumers are putting high expectations on the function and versatility of the products they purchase.

Luxury bag sales have declined, indicating the end of the ‘It’ bag and the rise of internet trends introduced by social media. Independent brands with social media presence have become popular among Instagram-savvy consumers, taking away market share from the luxury market. Additionally, the rise of the luxury resale market has made an impact on the luxury segment. Luxury resale companies like Rebag and the RealReal allow consumers to purchase authentic second-hand designer bags at more affordable prices.

In this report, we analyse the premium, luxury and fast fashion segments of the women’s bag industry, along with independent brands like Jacquemus and Yuzefi to identify key trends and spot opportunities.

More than 34,000 data points were screened from January to December 2019 across US and UK markets.

 

All data used in this report comes from products retailing online as tracked by Omnilytics, unless otherwise mentioned.

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Luxury & Premium: Overview

Overall Performance

Balenciaga championed the luxury segment with a total sell-out rate of 89% despite having the least newness at 77%. The under-performer in the luxury segment was Versace. Even with high newness and aggressive discounting, the brand failed to drive high sell-out.

Both Rebecca Minkoff and Kate Spade New York had the highest total sell-out rates in the premium segment. Their success was achieved through above average discounting to compensate for low newness. Coach also achieved an above average total sell-out rate but did so by having 93% of new-in products.

Top 3 Categories with the Most Newness (Luxury)

  1. Shoulder Bags
  2. Wallets & Cardholders
  3. Tote Bags

Top 3 Categories with the Most Newness (Premium)

  1. Shoulder Bags
  2. Cross Body Bags
  3. Tote Bags

 

The luxury segment puts a larger focus on Wallets & Cardholders compared to the premium segment. Shoulder Bags account for 24% of the new-in assortment for both segments. A majority of the contribution for Shoulder Bags came from Prada and Michael Michael Kors.

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Luxury & Premium: Key Styles

The key styles spotted in the luxury and premium segments were chunky chains, animal prints and drawstring bags.

Chunky Chains

Carrying over from Fall/Winter 2018 is the chunky chain trend. The style was still popular in Shoulder Bags, Cross Body Bags and Mini Bags with 3,200 new-in products.

Animal Prints

Another spill-over style from Fall/Winter 2018, more than 300 new-in SKUs featured croc-effect, snakeskin, python and leopard prints. The print with the highest newness was croc-effect, accounting for 40% of animal prints. The croc-effect was mostly seen in Cross Body Bags. The most popular colours for the style were black and brown for core colours and red for fashion colours.

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Fast Fashion: Overview

Overall Performance

River Island had the highest total sell-out rate of 90%, which reigned the fast fashion segment with above average newness and below average discounting in spite of its high median price. Fashion Nova and H&M also fared well by achieving above average total sell-out rate, despite having below average discounting and newness.

Even though Dorothy Perkins had the most newness and aggressive discounting, the brand had the lowest total sell-out rate. This indicates that Dorothy Perkins was not meeting customer expectations as its low priced positioning did not encourage sales.

Top 3 Categories with Most Newness

  1. Cross Body Bags
  2. Shoulder Bags
  3. Tote Bags

Shoulder Bags had a smaller new-in contribution in the fast fashion segment where Cross Body Bags topped. The bulk of Cross Body Bags came from Charles & Keith, Zara, Fashion Nova and River Island. Zara had a high concentration of new-in for Shoulder Bags, which contributed to more than 30% of the category.

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Fast Fashion: Key Styles

The prominent styles in the fast fashion segment were similar to the luxury and premium segments with chunky chains and animal prints. However, buckles were also a key style within the segment.

Chunky Chains

Chunky chains comprised 25% of the new-in assortment. Predominantly in the Cross Body Bags, Shoulder Bags and Clutches categories, the style was more overstated in the fast fashion segment compared to the luxury and premium segments.

Animal Prints

Animal prints accounted for 1,300 new-in SKUs – 14% of the new-in assortment. The fast fashion segment mirrored the luxury and premium segments whereby croc-effect was the animal print with the highest newness. It was seen most in Cross Body Bags and Top Handles.

Statement Buckles

Although the statement buckle trend only made up 2% of the entire assortment, the style managed to achieve 82% sell-out. Statement buckles were most prominent in the Cross Body Bags and Shoulder Bags categories.

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Independent Brands: Overview

Yuzefi and Jacquemus are direct to consumer (D2C) brands that are relatively new to the industry compared to longstanding designer brands. Yuzefi is a sustainable bag brand that uses vegan suede to line its bags, while Jacquemus is known for its aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed. Both brands gained popularity through the influence of celebrities – Lili Reinhart and Lucy Hale for Yuzefi and the Kardashians and Lizzo for Jacquemus.

Overall Performance

Yuzefi and Jacquemus both had high newness throughout 2019. However, Jacquemus was a step ahead of Yuzefi in terms of total sell-out rate and did so with less discounting.

Jacquemus’ boost can be attributed to the virality of the mini bag that followed Lizzo when she released a video featuring the Jacquemus Le Chiquito bag after donning a tiny Valentino bag at the AMAs.

Top 3 Categories with Most Newness

  1. Shoulder Bags
  2. Mini Bags
  3. Tote Bags

 

New-In Movement

Newness peaked in March for the independent brands, followed by a steep decline in the following month. The new-in movement for the top 3 categories then hovered between 10-30 for the next few months. There was high newness for Shoulder Bags in August and Tote Bags in October. The number of new-in SKUs fell in November before picking up again in December.

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Independent Brands: Key Styles

Each brand had their own key style that put them on the map. Jacquemus had its viral mini bag meanwhile Yuzefi had its Delila bag. Although these brands are setting their own stage and disrupting fashion, elements of their designs still emulate key styles in the traditional bag segments.

Jacquemus Mini Bags

Famous for being absurdly small, Jacquemus’ mini bags are barely large enough to put anything in them. The style is mainly seen as fashion, rather than functionality. A number of the mini bags featured the croc-effect, which has become the most popular animal print.

Yuzefi Delila Bag

The Yuzefi Delila bag is known for its boxy shape that comes in a combination of colours – a different colour for the strap, body, base and clasp respectively. Some of Yuzefi’s Delila bags include chunky chains that can be used to transform the bag into a Top Handle. The chunky chain style seen at Yuzefi is similar to the fast fashion segment.

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A Glimpse at 2020 Trends

Chunky Chains

This style has been prevalent for the past three seasons and is expected to continue on into 2020. Over 170 new-in SKUs with the chunky chain style were launched in January alone – indicating that the trend is still going strong and does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Drawstring Bags

40 new SKUs with the drawstring style have been launched. The style has already managed to achieve 40% sell-out within January itself in the luxury and premium segments. Usually present in Bucket Bags and Backpacks, this style is one to watch for in the coming months.

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Conclusion

Main Findings

Social Media Influence: 5 years ago, Jacquemus and Yuzefi were not well known. Due to the extensive use of social media in today’s digital age, brands that have strong social media presence are able to make their mark when the trends they adopt go viral. Exposure from social media influencers and celebrities flaunting their products on the red carpet helped both Jacquemus and Yuzefi to establish themselves as independent designer brands.

Trends Can Transcend Seasons: Some trends are fleeting and fade quickly but others can stand the test of time.

A majority of the key styles observed throughout 2019 spilled over from Fall/Winter 2018. The chunky chain style and animal prints were still showing high newness in 2019 and early 2020. Although the luxury, premium and fast fashion segments continue to introduce new products with the revamped versions of previous years’ styles and designs, the sell-out for the styles continue to be high. This signals that the chunky chain and animal print influence shows signs of remaining strong during this season.

 

Next Steps for Brands

More Informed Decision-Making: Depending solely on degree of newness of a specific trend is not sufficient to make an informed decision. It is also important to pay attention to the trend performance through sell-out rates or Omnilytics’ Trends Performance module. Ensuring a holistic view on aspects that contribute to the performance of trends is the key for brands to avoid tunnel vision.

Being able to have a viewpoint from all angles and aspects, brands can monitor competitors and industry leaders to discern which trends are worth adopting. Brands can also analyse historic data of industry leaders and combine with their own data to plan assortment, styles and colours for future collections to improve efficiency of time and cost.

Early Trend Detection: Being first to market is extremely crucial in the current industry where trends can fade just as quickly as they emerge. The speed of launching new products is just as important as launching the right products.

Brands can beat their competitors to market by utilising Omnilytics data to perform early trend detection on styles that start to appear frequently on social media. Brands can also carry out trend validation to complement trend forecasting at the assortment planning stage.

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Meet the Author

Ashley Looi

Ashley Looi combines her major in econometrics with her interest in fashion to help brands and retailers uncover actionable insights. She currently produces in-depth reports on the fashion industry and its changing retail scene across the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Southeast Asia.

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