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A quarter of UK men have bought a ‘manbag’

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Britain’s men aged 16-34 are lifting sales of ‘manbags’, according to new research from Mintel, while total UK sales of fashion accessories reached 2.9 billion pounds in 2017.

The research reveals that the ‘manbag’s’ popularity has grown significantly in recent years, as Britain’s young men join the likes of David Beckham, Kanye West and Ryan Gosling, with 24 percent of UK men buying one in 2017, up from 16 percent in 2016.

But while young males have boosted the popularity of the ‘manbag’, it seems they are not alone as overall one in seven (15 percent) British men bought a ‘manbag’ in 2017.

Meanwhile, more than half (54 percent) of British women bought a bag last year, with the handbag market now accounting for 50 percent of fashion accessory sales, outperforming all other fashion accessory categories. The market grew by 5.5 percent during 2017 to reach 1.45 billion pounds, up from 1.37 billion pounds in 2016.

Tamara Sender, Mintel senior fashion analyst, said:“Manbags have become increasingly accepted by Britain’s men. There has been a growing trend for backpack-style bags, many of which are unisex in style and, therefore, appeal to young men. The popularity of manbags among young men has also benefited the premium end of the market, as our research finds men favour buying designer brands for themselves over own-brand bags.

“We’re also seeing more designer brands investing in their menswear offering, with Stella McCartney adding menswear for the first time in late 2016, which includes different styles of manbags. Designer handbag sales as a whole have benefited from an increase in inbound tourism spend as more overseas consumers visited the UK in 2017, taking advantage of the more favourable exchange rate following the EU referendum.”

The report also notes that the boost in accessories is good for the British fashion industry as many as 40 percent of fashion accessory purchasers say that they would be willing to pay more for these items if they’re made in Britain.

Last year, Brits spent 2.9 billion pounds on fashion accessories, with the market growing by 3.6 percent between 2016-17, up from 2.8 billion pounds in 2016. Over the past five years, sales of fashion accessories have increased 21 percent when the market was valued at 2.4 billion pounds in 2012.

The top five accessories bought by Brits in 2017 were: handbags/manbags with 34 percent, belts (27 percent), scarves (23 percent), gloves (21 percent) and hats (21 percent).

Meanwhile, just three in 10 (31 percent) Brits say they didn’t purchase a fashion accessory in 2017.

Sender, added: “British fashion accessory producers have a great opportunity to make the most of the patriotic trend, with four in 10 shoppers willing to pay more to support home-grown talent, particularly those in the more affluent AB socio-economic group. This forms part of a larger trend for consumers placing greater importance on provenance and expecting more transparency from the fashion industry.”