Young British men increasingly buying handbags

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The manbag has become a must-have fashion accessory for British men, especially for the younger generation as new research reveals that 24% of those aged 16-34 purchased a bag in 2017.

A survey of 2,000 internet users aged 16 and over, carried out by research company Mintel, has showed that the manbag’s popularity has risen significantly in recent years, perhaps linked to celebrities such as David Beckham, Kanye West and Ryan Gosling, who have been frequently spotted carrying backpacks, totes and barrel bags.

While young men are driving the trend, the survey shows that men in general are updating their wardrobes with on-trend bags, with 15% of British men buying a manbag in 2017.

This is giving the handbag market a healthy boost. In 2017, the segment outperformed all other fashion accessory categories, reporting a 5.5% increase in sales to £1.45 billion, compared to £1.37 billion a year earlier.

“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,” said Tamara Sender, senior fashion analyst at Mintel.

Indeed, Mintel pointed to more designer brands investing in their menswear offering, such as Stella McCartney, who launched a menswear line including accessories for the first time in late 2016.

“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,” added Sender.

Male consumers are also looking at British made brands when it comes to their accessories. According to Mintel, 40% of fashion accessory purchasers would be willing to pay more for these items if they’re made in Britain.

Britain’s rising love affair with handbags and manbags is helping lift the fashion accessories market, which grew 3.6% to £2.9 billion in 2017. Belts, scarves, gloves and hats were also popular among British shoppers last year.
Just three in 10 Britons said they didn’t purchase a fashion accessory in 2017, according to Mintel.

The majority of accessories purchases are taking place online, with Millennials aged 18-37% leading the way. Online-only retailers, such as Asos and Net-a-Porter, are the most popular places to buy fashion accessories online, with almost 60% of online shoppers buying from these e-tailers.

“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,” commented Sender.


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