Oct 18, 2016
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Logo-free handbags gain US market share, allover logos decline

Oct 18, 2016

US consumers are increasingly buying handbags with no visible logos, a new report from The NPD Group shows. The 'New Handbag Customer Revealed 2016' report backs up other evidence, both anecdotal and statistical, showing a move away from logos as a sales driver for the handbag category globally.

Subtle logos like Manseur Gavriel's, or no logos at all, are gaining popularity

Around one-third of handbags bought in the US in the last 12 months were logo-free, NPD said, and sales of these have risen as an overall share of the total bag market.

Sales of logo-free bags were strongest in the Baby Boomer age group with 40% of consumers buying them, while the 70-plus age group was in second place.

But the trend is being seen across all age groups with Gen Z consumers in third place, seeing an 8% rise in their logo-free purchases. Gen X shoppers are also increasing their purchases.

The logo-driven trend still appears to be strongest with the Millennial consumer but change is imminent, said the report.

In the last 12 months, a little over a quarter of Millennials aged 18-24 bought logo-free bags, a number unchanged year-on-year. But older Millennials (aged 25-34) saw their share of logo-free items increasing. However, more than three-quarters of their bag purchases still featured logos.

NPD’s chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen said consumers are becoming less focused on image and more on individuality – especially the younger generations. He added that the cachet of designer logos is still relevant for many, but “the days of consumers looking to be a part of a designer or brand movement are waning in favour of their desire to find the style and function unique to their personality and lifestyle."

This trend could be even stronger than the figures show. Even where logos are visible, NPD’s recent report saw 81% of Millennials saying it was important to them that the logo on their handbag be subtle.

In alignment with this sentiment, the handbag logo placement that experienced the most notable market loss in the 12 months ending June 2016 was the in-material pattern style, the research group said.

Even though Millennials generally want the handbags they splurge on to be recognisable, they are increasingly seeking this recognition through distinction of design. That is providing a boost for features such as personalisation options like key fobs, interchangeable straps, and patches. High-end brand are also focusing on features such as the customer’s initials.

“Millennials have launched a movement of individuality en masse that is greatly influencing retail, including the fashion industry,” added Cohen.

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