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UK Handbags market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Handbags market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, the term handbags is used to define all types of handbags and man bags worn by women and men, including backpack-style handbags, but excluding rucksacks, luggage, laptop bags, purses and wallets. Mintel’s consumer research for this report covers purchasing of different types of handbags and man bags, where consumers bought these, average spend on handbags, the most important factors when purchasing a new bag and female and male attitudes towards buying handbags and man bags. Mintel’s market size for handbags includes men’s and women’s handbags and backpacks.

Key points included

  • The year of the niche brand
  • Bags for men is big business
  • Second-hand market presents opportunities

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Chana Baram, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Handbags are expected to have performed well in 2018, mainly due to its success within the luxury market. However, things are expected to slow post-Brexit. While younger women continue to be the main handbag buyers, brands and retailers should be thinking of new ways to attract a different consumer as the handbag market becomes increasingly crowded. Chana Baram
Retail Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Handbag market in the UK to have reached £1.9 billion in 2018
              • Figure 1: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK value sales of handbags, 2013-23
            • Tourism on the up, fuelling growth in luxury spending
              • Figure 2: Visitors to the UK and total expenditure, year-on-year % change, 2001-17
            • People concerned about cost of living post-Brexit
              • Figure 3: Mintel’s economic outlook consumer tracker, November 2018
            • Companies and brands
              • Major luxury brands performing well
                • Burberry increases ad spend
                  • Longchamp well-recognised, while Kate Spade highly recommended
                    • Figure 4: Key metrics for selected brands, October 2018
                  • The consumer
                    • Almost a third of young men bought a man bag
                      • Figure 5: Style of bags purchased in the last 12 months, November 2018
                    • Over two in five bags purchased as a gift
                      • Figure 6: Who bags were purchased for over the last 12 months, November 2018
                    • Half buy bags online
                      • Figure 7: Channels used to buy bags, November 2018
                    • Department stores and value retailers most popular destinations
                      • Figure 8: Retailers bags were purchased from, November 2018
                    • Size and design more important than quality
                      • Figure 9: Top factors when buying a bag, November 2018
                    • Second-hand market growing in importance
                      • Figure 10: Behaviours of those who purchased a bag in the last 12 months, November 2018
                    • Most do not feel that designer bags are worth the money
                      • Figure 11: Agreement or disagreement with statements about bags, November 2018
                    • What we think
                    • Issues and Insights

                      • Bags for men is big business
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                              • Figure 12: Côte & Ciel Ganges bag, 2018
                            • Second-hand market presents opportunities
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                  • The year of the niche brand
                                    • The facts
                                      • The implications
                                      • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                        • Handbag market in the UK to have reached £1.9 billion in 2018
                                          • Growth predicted to slow from 2019
                                            • Tourism on the up, fuelling growth in luxury spending
                                              • Brexit impacted the value of Sterling
                                                • People concerned about cost of living post-Brexit
                                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                                  • Market estimated to have reached £1.9 billion in 2018
                                                    • Figure 13: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK value sales of handbags, 2013-23
                                                  • Future growth predicted to slow
                                                    • Figure 14: UK value sales of handbags, at current and 2018 prices, 2013-23
                                                  • Forecast methodology
                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                    • Tourism on the up, fuelling growth in luxury spending
                                                        • Figure 15: Visitors to the UK and total expenditure, year-on-year % change, 2001-17
                                                      • Brexit impacted the value of Sterling
                                                        • Figure 16: Sterling to US Dollar exchange rate chart, by month, Jan 2013-Nov 2018
                                                      • People concerned about the cost of living post-Brexit
                                                        • Figure 17: Mintel’s economic outlook consumer tracker, January 2019
                                                      • Wages now growing faster than inflation
                                                        • Figure 18: Average weekly earnings (total pay) vs inflation, January 2016-October 2018
                                                      • One in five bought a handbag over a three-month period
                                                        • Figure 19: Fashion products purchased in the last three months, September 2018
                                                    • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Big luxury brands faring well
                                                        • Use of social media to promote new product
                                                          • Sustainable materials
                                                            • Burberry increases ad spend
                                                              • Longchamp well-recognised, while Kate Spade highly recommended
                                                              • Competitive Strategies

                                                                • Financial outlook
                                                                  • Figure 20: Key financials of the main players in the handbag market, 2015-17
                                                                • Luxury brands
                                                                  • Figure 21: Gucci Spring/Summer 2018 AR campaign, titled ‘The Gucci Hallucination’
                                                                • Premium specialists
                                                                  • Multi brand retailers
                                                                    • Figure 22: Selfridges champagne bar in its new accessories department, August 2018
                                                                  • Online
                                                                    • High street – Own brands
                                                                    • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                      • Influencer Marketing
                                                                        • Back to the future
                                                                          • Burberry’s new ‘it’ bag
                                                                            • The Prada Postman…
                                                                              • …and its Delivery man
                                                                                • Store innovations
                                                                                  • The biggest accessories department in the world
                                                                                    • Figure 23: Selfridges new accessories department, 2018
                                                                                  • 90s resurgence
                                                                                    • Bumbags
                                                                                      • Inflatable bags
                                                                                        • Launch of 24Sèvres.com
                                                                                          • Gender fluidity
                                                                                            • Mansur Gavriel launches line of men’s bags
                                                                                              • Designer Collaborations
                                                                                                • Louis Vuitton x Jeff Koons ‘Masters’ handbag collection
                                                                                                  • Giles Deacon for Aspinal of London
                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Giles Deacon x Aspinal of London – Girls Print Mini Trunk, 2018
                                                                                                  • Coach x Selena Gomez
                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Coach x Selena Gomez, 2018
                                                                                                  • Longchamp x Kendall Jenner
                                                                                                    • Sustainable Innovations
                                                                                                      • Burberry partners with Elvis & Kresse to tackle waste creation
                                                                                                        • Leather alternative
                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Bolt Thread’s Driver bag made from Mylo™ mushroom leather, 2018
                                                                                                      • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                        • Ad spend on handbags increases 66% in 2018
                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Total above-the-line online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on handbags, 2014-18
                                                                                                        • Leading players
                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on handbags, 2014-18
                                                                                                        • Key campaigns
                                                                                                          • Burberry increases its ad spend in time for its Belt Bag
                                                                                                            • The Kooples ups its focus on bags
                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Zayn Malik promoting The Kooples Zayn backpack
                                                                                                            • Share of ad spend by media type
                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising by Media type, 2018
                                                                                                            • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                            • Brand Research

                                                                                                                • Brand map
                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, October 2018
                                                                                                                • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Key metrics for selected brands, October 2018
                                                                                                                • Brand attitudes: Gucci perceived to set trends
                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Attitudes, by brand, October 2018
                                                                                                                • Brand personality: Louis Vuitton considered exclusive
                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Brand personality – Macro image, October 2018
                                                                                                                • Kate Spade seen as cool
                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Brand personality – Micro image, October 2018
                                                                                                                • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                  • Louis Vuitton is the most recommended brand
                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: User profile of Louis Vuitton, October 2018
                                                                                                                  • Gucci has the highest level of awareness
                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: User profile of Gucci, October 2018
                                                                                                                  • Kate Spade seen as fun
                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: User profile of Kate Spade, October 2018
                                                                                                                  • Coach viewed as durable
                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: User profile of Coach, October 2018
                                                                                                                  • Longchamp sees an increase in awareness
                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: User profile of Longchamp, October 2018
                                                                                                                  • Aspinal of London needs to boost excitement
                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: User profile of Aspinal of London, October 2018
                                                                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                  • Almost a third of young men bought a man bag
                                                                                                                    • Higher amounts spent on bags bought as gifts
                                                                                                                      • Department stores and value retailers most popular destinations
                                                                                                                        • Over-55s care about functionality over style
                                                                                                                          • Second-hand market growing in importance
                                                                                                                            • Most do not feel that designer bags are worth the money
                                                                                                                            • Styles Purchased

                                                                                                                              • Backpacks emerge as a clear favourite
                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Style of bags purchased in the last 12 months, November 2018
                                                                                                                                • Figure 43: Purchasing of backpacks and bumbags, by age and gender, November 2018
                                                                                                                                • Figure 44: Mansur Gavriel new men’s backpack, 2018
                                                                                                                              • Almost a third of young men bought a man bag
                                                                                                                                • Highest amount of money spent on man bags
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Amount spent on bags over the last 12 months crossed with style of bag bought, November 2018
                                                                                                                                • Men more likely than women to buy just one style of bag
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Repertoire of types of bags purchased, by gender, November 2018
                                                                                                                              • Who Bags are Purchased For

                                                                                                                                • Over two in five bags purchased as a gift
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Who bags were purchased for over the last 12 months, November 2018
                                                                                                                                • More men than women buy bags as a gift…
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Who bags were purchased for, by gender, November 2018
                                                                                                                                • …but more women buy as a gift for a family member
                                                                                                                                  • Higher amounts spent on bags bought for others
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Who bags were bought for crossed with the amount spent, November 2018
                                                                                                                                • Where Bags are Bought

                                                                                                                                  • Half bought bags online
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: Channels used to buy bags, November 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Department stores and value retailers the most popular destinations
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Retailers bags were purchased from, November 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Department stores popular with male shoppers and older female customers
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Dior Saddle Bag in Harrods colours, 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Fast fashion clothing retailers appeal to younger women
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Primark autumn handbag range, 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Online-only retailing
                                                                                                                                    • Designer and premium retailers most popular with male buyers
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Comparison of purchases from value vs premium retailers, by gender, November 2018
                                                                                                                                    • Gifts for partners purchased from higher-end retailers
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Retailers used for bags bought as a gift vs bags bought for themselves, November 2018
                                                                                                                                    • Younger customers most likely to shop around
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Repertoire of retailers shopped at when buying handbags, by age, November 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Most Important Factors for Customers

                                                                                                                                    • Size and design more important than quality
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Top factors when buying a bag, November 2018
                                                                                                                                    • Over-55s care about functionality over style
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 58: Primark Christmas feature for its glitter crossbody bags, 2018
                                                                                                                                    • Men care most about design and quality
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 59: Top factors when buying a bag, by gender, November 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Bag Shopping Behaviour

                                                                                                                                    • Price comparison a common approach to bag buying
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 60: Behaviours of those who purchased a bag in the last 12 months, November 2018
                                                                                                                                    • Buying British is important to customers, particularly over-55s
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Amount of bag shoppers who prefer to support British brands or retailers, by age, November 2018
                                                                                                                                    • Second-hand market growing in importance
                                                                                                                                      • Limited edition and personalised bags showcase individuality
                                                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Bags

                                                                                                                                        • Most do not trust that designer bags are worth the money
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 62: Agreement or disagreement with statements about bags, November 2018
                                                                                                                                        • Agreement across the board that ethical production is hard to discern
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 63: Agreement or disagreement around ethical production being difficult to discern, by age, November 2018
                                                                                                                                        • Young people agree about pressures on social media
                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                              • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 64: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK value sales of handbags, 2018-23