Tight purse strings, but handbag sales soaring

BEST FRIEND: Girls still going mad for handbags

HANDBAGS, as many discovered this Christmas, are a girl’s best friend.
For despite tightening purse strings, sales of handbags have grown 104 per cent in the last five years, according to research into fashion accessories in the UK.
Sales of handbags for 2012 were just shy of £1 billion (€1.25 bn), up from £468 million (€585m) in 2007.
This proved Britain´s love affair with handbags knows no bounds, with sales increasing 11 per cent between 2011 and last year, Mintel, the UK´s leading consumer retail research company, revealed.

But it is not just handbags which are being snapped up by Britain’s fashion lovers, total sales of fashion accessories – including handbags, man-bags, costume jewellery, belts, scarves, hats, ties and hair accessories – have also shown impressive growth.

In the last five years sales of fashion accessories grew 45 per cent to reach a glitzy £2.2 billion (€2.7bn) in 2012, with this representing a 9 per cent increase between 2011 and 2012.

Tamara Sender Senior Fashion Analyst at Mintel said: “In tough economic times, accessories have proved popular among consumers.  Strong and fickle fashion trends in accessories mean that women tend to purchase multiple items and use them as a cheap way of updating their look.

“In fact, accessories have proved so popular among consumers with value sales of both handbags and costume jewellery growing at a stronger rate than clothing.

“Trends that have helped boost the market last year included clutches, metallic handbags, costume jewellery with spikes, big and bold earrings and fake jewel-encrusted bracelets.”

In 2011 half of all British women bought at least one bag, equivalent to an impressive 13.2 million women.  While a third of handbag buyers purchased several less expensive bags in the 12 months, one in seven bought only one expensive handbag.

Research also shows that just under a quarter of women did not buy a fashion accessory in the last 12 months, and this rises to 46 per cent of men.

As many as three in ten consumers who have purchased fashion accessories last year say they only buy them when they were on special offer or sale.

This had almost doubled since 2011, highlighting the extent of the discounting occurring across the high street for both clothing and accessories.



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