Accessories Emerge As Luxury's Bright Spot

Luxury apparel is still struggling but Millennials are buying accessories.

Despite reports of renewed growth in the luxury goods market, it’s still an upwards battle. In the first half of 2017 (H1 2017), full price sellouts of luxury products were down 7.8 percent year-on-year, according to EDITED.

Millennials, who overtook baby boomers last year as the largest demographic, are key to luxury retail growth. EDITED’s analysis of 30 U.S. luxury women's wear retailers across more than 5,000 brands found the greatest opportunity within accessories, which appeal to Millennials’ desire for variety. While apparel full price sellouts were down by 34.5 percent, full price sellouts of luxury bags have increased by 22 percent, while scarves and hats are up 20 percent and 83 percent respectively.

Additional EDITED findings:

  • Luxury retail discounts in H1 2017 compared to H1 2016 decreased by 5 percent, indicating that retailers are relying less on price cuts to boost sales.
  • Full price sell outs of luxury bags are up by 22 percent, with an average price of $1,465.07. Meanwhile, scarves are up 20.4 percent (average price $664.12) and hats are up 83 percent ($398.55).
  • The best performing brands in Q1 (in descending order) were Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana.
  • Gucci has performed the best in handbags, with full price sellouts up by a staggering 595 percent! Characterized by animal, insect and reptile motifs, embellishments and bold, clashing colors, Gucci’s new styles appeal directly to the younger demographic.


“With its low prices and swiftly developing trends, fast fashion has facilitated this demographic's endless switching up of garments," said Katie Smith, senior retail analyst at EDITED. "But that's not to say the Millennial shopper isn't attuned to the finer things in life, which is where luxury accessories play a key role. For millennials, these kinds of items represent better value as they're a way to affiliate with a brand or lifestyle but can be worn across multiple looks and in different stylings.”

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