As a growing number of Brits continue to boost manbag sales in the U.K., buyers are not just looking for style. They’re also looking to see whether the item is made in Britain and many are willing to pay more if the accessory is home-grown.
British fashion accessory producers have a great opportunity to make the most of this patriotic trend, with four in 10 shoppers willing to pay more to support home-grown talent.
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. Nearly a quarter (24%) of British men ages 16 to 34 bought a manbag in 2017, a figure which has increased significantly since 2016 when just 16% of 16 to 34s bought one, according to Mintel’s Fashion Accessories UK 2018 report.
Seeing more designer brands
But while young males have boosted the popularity of the manbag, it seems they are not alone, as overall one in seven (15%) British men bought a manbag in 2017. Meanwhile, more than half (54%) of British women bagged a bag last year. The handbag market now accounts for 50% of fashion accessory sales, outperforming all other fashion accessory categories, growing by 5.5% during 2017 to reach a stylish £1.45 billion, up from £1.37 billion in 2016.
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, says Tamara Sender, senior fashion analyst at Mintel.
“The popularity of manbags among young men has also benefited the premium end of the market, as our research finds men favor buying designer brands for themselves over own-brand bags,” Sender adds. “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.”
Benefitting from tourism
Designer handbag sales, as a whole, have benefited from an increase in inbound tourism spend as more overseas consumers visited the U.K. in 2017, taking advantage of the more favorable exchange rate following the EU referendum, she explains.
There’s good news for the British fashion industry, with Mintel research revealing as many as 40% 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 on fashion accessories, with the market growing by 3.6% between 2016-17, up from £2.8 billion in 2016. Over the past five years, sales of fashion accessories have increased 21% when the market was valued at £2.4 billion in 2012.
The top five accessories bought by Brits in 2017 were:
- Handbags/manbags (34%)
- Belts (27%)
- Scarves (23%)
- Gloves (21%)
- Hats (21%)
Meanwhile, just three in 10 (31%) Brits say they didn’t purchase a fashion accessory in 2017.
Supporting home-grown talent
Finally, over half (52%) of fashion accessories shoppers make their purchases online, peaking among Millennials ages 18 to 37 (59%). Online-only retailers are the most popular places to buy fashion accessories online, with almost three fifths (59%) of online shoppers buying from one of these websites, according to Mintel.
“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,” Sender says. “This forms part of a larger trend for consumers placing greater importance on provenance and expecting more transparency from the fashion industry.