Nov 19, 2018
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"Belt bags" drive growth in outdoor sector

Nov 19, 2018

Belt bags, which have become omnipresent from the runways to the high street, have proved that they are not limited to a chic luxury reinvention – and have made a comeback in the outdoor sector, too.

Photo: Eastpak

The versatile waist bags, also known as fanny packs, bum bags and hip packs, have topped a list this year of garments driving growth in outdoor wear, with sales soaring by 52 percent in 2017, according to the NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service. Backpacks and duffle bags grew by 4 percent and 6 percent, by comparison.

“The bag business is being driven by travel and consumers’ affinity for experiential spending, which remains a hot opportunity for the outdoor market,” said Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry advisor for sports at The NPD Group. “An unexpected comeback, the fanny pack is regaining popularity as consumers embrace its convenient, compact, and lightweight qualities. Outdoor brands are breathing new life into the product through water resistant fabrics, security features, and adding ‘hip pack’ to its list of names to go by.”

The accessories segment provided some welcome relief to the U.S. outdoor industry this year, which has seen faltering sales in the past year and a half. The NPD Group has attributed the decline to the industry missing growth opportunities and overlooking the ongoing travel trend. In the 12 months ending August 2018, sales fell by by 2 percent.

In addition to accessories, the outerwear market has been the only other bright spot. Representing 30% of the $18.8 billion of total outdoor industry sales, the outerwear market grew by 2 percent in the last 12 months, with outerwear tops being the best performers.

“Outerwear had a very good run early in the year as the long, late winter drove sales. Because of that, inventories are clean right now, which has benefitted early sales as well,” said Powell.

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