Sales of handbags saw a sharp decline during the pandemic when stuck at home consumers found expensive bags to be a non-necessity. Despite surging numbers in the resale market for pre-owned luxury, the lifestyle changes brought on by Covid-19 dampened interest in this once booming category.
As occasionwear slowly makes its way back to the winter 2021/2022 season, there is an opportunity for accessory makers to revive interest in handbags, albeit to fit the need of a less-is-more mentality.
Heritage brands, such as Hermes, Dior and Prada, are seeing a spike in re-sale demand showing that well-crafted styles with traditional detailing stand the test of time.
Traditional versus novelty
Core shapes, like the tote, shoulder bag and even clutch remain essential accessory items that each season can be easily updated with newness for a sense of novelty.
Giving the consumer value is key, with designers looking to capture an appeal to last for more than a season. While practical accessories have seen a surge in sales in the past year – from bicycle friendly bags to modular items that can be chained or used in multitude of ways – seasonless styling is key as consumers look beyond a fast-fashion mentality for lasting qualities and shapes.
Where the hype of handbag sales may have dampened since the pandemic, the status bag has remained firmly in demand, as evident by Christie’s Hong Kong auction in last month, which saw a rare Hermes bag fetch 437,000 dollars.
Image: Hermes Christie’s