Buck the Trend
Gen Z and Millennials appear to be leaving handbags behind — not just accidentally on a subway or at a restaurant table, but for good.
From April 2022 to 2023, sales of handbags rose 7% for consumers over 35, but declined by 2% among 18 to 34 year olds. Instead, the younger generations are picking up more casual carriers like fanny packs and totes.
Two of the most popular bags among younger generations are Uniqlo’s (FRCOY) $20 shoulder bag and Lululemon’s (LULU) explosively popular belt bag, retailing for $20 and $38, respectively. In addition to racking up doorbuster sales, both items have taken turns going viral, featured in videos and hashtags that have raked in millions of views on TikTok.
Rise of Functional Fashion
The trend toward casual fashion kicked off during the pandemic, as work from home mandates made it socially acceptable to treat comfy workout gear like everyday attire. This trend has since carried over to accessories, leaving younger customers looking for bags both fashionable and functional.
Fanny packs and totes are perfect for trips to the beach, camping excursions, and music festivals. But, now that they’re back in vogue, these casual carriers are pulling double duty, checking both boxes: trendy and practical.
Return of the Pack
While sales of handbags fell between April of this year and last, the market for fanny, waist, and chest packs jumped 56% during the same period.
But it’s not just stylish Millennials and Gen Zers staying plugged into the fanny pack fad. Investors in the apparel industry are keeping an eye on this trend as well.
The shift toward functional fashion has already carried over into accessories, and could soon impact other sectors of the industry, too.
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