Smart accessories. Connected watches, GPS tracking luggage, or iPhone connected rings are just some examples of how technology and connectivity are taking the accessories world by storm. In the future, consumer appeal is expected to increase as these encapsulate functionality as well as aesthetics.
Digitalisation and smart accessories gain traction
Connected and smart personal accessories are becoming increasingly popular. A more fashion-driven approach to technology, where design is as important (if not more so) than functionality, is propelling popularity among consumers. Smart watches are now coexisting with traditional timepieces, which are themselves mirroring the aesthetics of traditional watches (analogue displays for example), with hybrid models to cater traditionalists.
Jewellery has also jumped in, elevating the design of first generation tracking devices. The partnership between Swarovski and Misfit is a good example of functionality in a more subtle and aspirational device. Even more “functional” categories, such as luggage and writing instruments, are rapidly adopting smart functionalities. Moleskine, the Italian notebook manufacturer, has recently launched its Smart Writing Set, allowing consumers to share, email or save notes, synchronising the analogue and the digital world. Luggage products featuring GPS tracking, self-checking tags or fingerprint locking are also growing in popularity as they become ever more affordable.
Example of Smart Writing Set
The appeal of affordable luxury expands to adjacent categories
The success of brands like Michael Kors and Kate Spade has sparked interest in the in-between proposition of affordable luxury beyond handbags, with considerable success. Jewellery has witnessed an influx of brands positioned between fine and costume jewellery, featuring semi-precious gems and metals at more affordable prices. Examples include the likes of Thomas Sabo, Links of London and even Pandora. The trend has lured well-established luxury players like Tiffany & Co, which recently launched its HardWear collection, featuring industrial and minimalistic designs, at more affordable price ranges for a wider consumer base. The leaders of the trend have rapidly cashed in by expanding their product lines way beyond handbags, blurring the higher end price ranges across many other personal accessories and even eyewear products. Michael Kors now boasts a wide product portfolio, including watches and jewellery. Kate Spade has followed a similar path by moving from handbags to apparel, and from there to anything from childrenswear to sleepwear and kitchenwares.
World travel figure boosts bags and luggage sales
Travel and tourism continues to remain on track, outperforming the global economy, with both arrivals and inbound receipts set to grow by 4% in 2017. By 2022, 1.6 billion arrivals are expected, with an average of USD1,031 spent per trip. Travelling has become another status symbol, especially among consumers increasingly switching from “stuff” to experiences. Travelling is nowadays a key leisure activity for many millennials worldwide, and personal accessories linked with travelling are benefiting. In 2017, backpacks posted the best performance among all personal accessories categories, growing by 5% to USD16,221 billion. Beyond their functional purpose, backpacks are quickly becoming “must-have” accessories, with an increasing number of urban consumers lured by the brands such as MCM and Knomo. Luggage posted a healthy 3% retail value growth in 2017, as the number of business and leisure travellers continues to grow. Samsonite remains the undisputed leader of the category, accounting for almost a fifth of global value sales.
World Inbound Arrivals, Receipts and Average Spend 2017-2022
Source: Euromonitor International
The rise of internet retailing and shifts in consumers’ shopping habits are causing companies to reassess how, when and where they target consumers. Innovative and cohesive retailing strategies are proving to be the difference between growth and decline.
As the world becomes hyper-connected, it is no surprise to see internet retailing as the fastest growing channel within personal accessories. Connectivity is manifesting itself in the personal accessories space with several smart features, such as GPS tracking and smart jewellery. As consumers move from “stuff” to experiences (increasing rapidly in developed markets) personal accessories players are cashing in on the trend. Experiences such as travel and tourism are boosting the performance of bags and luggage, for example.
Learn more global trends in the personal accessories market in our report “World Market for Personal Accessories“