Handbag Sales Decline 2015

A recent Bloomberg Business article reported that handbag sales, historically one of the hottest tickets going in the luxury goods and accessories markets, has taken a sharp downturn in recent months — just when you would expect sales to be picking-up in the run up to the festive season. The slow fall sales have led to a flurry of design houses slashing their prices and offering special discounts in an attempt to offset the disappointing performances of what would normally be their biggest cash cows.

While there has been a lot of hand-wringing and speculation within the industry about the death of the handbag as one of the most aspirational luxury accessories in the fashion world, retail executives are quick to point out that the dip in sales is in-line with the current trends for smaller, more pared-down cross-body bags and wallets. The rise in popularity of mid-priced bags seems to underscore this point, and while there are still some great discounted deals to be found at the moment, we're told not to expect these discounts to last.

Topeka Capital Markets analyst, Dorothy Lakner, told Bloomberg that in order to keep the profit margin growing in the current market, “you have to make products more scarce and have less inventory left over at the end of the year so that you can get full retail price.”

What does that mean for those of us who might be shopping for a handbag during the festive season and beyond? If the answer were a sign over a busy highway, it would probably read “expect delays”. Will bespoke and limited-edition smaller handbags take the place of the previous decade's totes, backpacks, and bucket bags? Only time will tell.