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Personal Accessories 2018 Edition: Key Research Highlights

July 17th, 2017

Euromonitor International is pleased to announce that the Personal Accessories 2018 edition is now live and available to access on Passport. The updated research provides the latest insights into how the industry is performing, and identifies key prospects through to 2022, offering unparalleled insight into the key trends and dynamics impacting the industry.

KEY RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Affordable luxury filling the gap
  2. “Athleisure” beyond clothing
  3. Brands expand into new territories
  4. Distribution remains largely physical

Affordable luxury filling the gap

Right in between the luxury and the mass market space, a new, more affordable, yet still aspirational segment, is thriving. Targeting fashion-driven, yet not affluent enough consumers, an increasing number of players and brand extensions are moving into this in-between space. After years of austerity, an increasing number of consumers are gradually treating themselves with more upmarket products, albeit far from those within the higher end of the spectrum. With this post-recession mind-set in place, consumers are favouring the likes of Tory Burch or Kate Spade within handbags, both brands outpacing overall market performance. Within jewellery, an increasing number of players have launched “bridge jewellery” collections, mixing semi-precious gemstones and metals at a price point in between fine and costume jewellery. In fine jewellery, first-mover Pandora has taken the lion’s share in reaping the rewards from affordable luxury demand, which suggests that there is space yet for players other than the likes of Thomas Sabo to fill. Some players are increasingly offering precious metals at affordable prices by creating new alloys, such as Tiffany and Co’s Rubedo rose-gold jewellery. This in-between positioning is helping mid-range brands to drive higher turnover on the back of higher unit prices, and more premium brands to cater to a wider range of consumers without compromising on brand equity.

“Athleisure” beyond clothing

Despite signs of “athleisure” fatigue in some markets, the trend is also having an important impact on personal accessories. The more casual and sport-inspired dress code keeps driving appetite for sport brands and sport-inspired bags, backpacks and even watches. adidas posted 9% growth within bags and luggage in 2016, nearly three times more than the category average. Personal accessories specialist retailers such as Accessorize now have dedicated lines for sporty accessories as part of its activewear line featuring items such as washbags, or water bottles. “Athleisure” has even managed to penetrate the more formal and traditional world of watches. As seen in the latest Baselworld edition, “atheleisure time” as a concept is gaining traction, with an increasing number of players moving into activewear territory tapping into consumer demand for more casual and sport-inspired timepieces.

Brands expand into new territories

In an attempt to drive both extra revenue and increase brand awareness, apparel and accessories players are widening their product portfolios way beyond adjacent categories. The trend is happening both from clothing manufacturers increasingly keen to add new accessories lines, and by well-established personal accessories specialists moving beyond their core product offering. In a rather fragmented competitive landscape, with the combined share of ten top brands accounting for less than 10% of global value sales, the strategy is bold. Examples include Footwear label To Boot New York which recently launched a small leather goods and backpack collection, with prices ranges between US$150 and US$695. Taking the opposite direction, US leather goods brand Mansur Gavriel recently announced the launch of a ready-to-wear collection after been awarded Accessories Designer of the Year at the 2016 CFDA Awards. Even stationery brands like Montblanc, Smythson or Moleskine have been active in this regard in recent years, expanding into small leather goods as they continue their journey to become lifestyle brands.

Distribution remains largely physical

Despite its strong fashion nature, distribution of personal accessories follows a unique path. The high unit price of some of many products (fine jewellery or premium watches, for example) still acts as an obstacle for digital sales, which have yet to reach the levels of closely-related industries. As such, digital sales of personal accessories reached 8% of global value sales, half of apparel and footwear levels. Internet retailing once again posted double-digit growth, accounting for over US$42 billion sales globally. However, physical retailers have been very active in expanding shop floor space dedicated to accessories in an attempt to draw consumers and remain relevant. Selfridges, the iconic UK department store, is in the process of unveiling the biggest handbag hall in the world. When completed in 2018, the 60,000 sq ft space dedicated to handbags, purses, scarves and sunglasses will host concessions from 10 brands, and will rival in size the pitch of Wembley stadium.

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Jorge Martin

Jorge Martin is Apparel and Footwear Project Manager at Euromonitor International. He has a Master's degree in Applied Social and Market Research from Westminster University and has been working in market research since 2005. Professional interests include consumer behaviour, analytics and innovation.

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