Small Personal Accessories Brought Big Business Opportunity in 2015, Reports NPD

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Wallets, wristlets, and key fobs are driving significant dollar volume growth, when priced right.

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“Consumers are willing to spend a little more if the perceived value is there, and small personal accessories deliver with product that have splurge appeal with attainable price tags,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.

Approximately 20 million small personal accessories were sold in U.S. department store, national chain, and direct-to-consumer retailers in 2015, a 4 percent increase over 2014, according to Retail Tracking Service data from global information company, The NPD Group. This unit growth, combined with an increase in average selling price, drove 6 percent dollar growth for the category, bringing sales to more than $708 million for these channels*.

“Small personal accessories is a growing market with big potential, proving its importance to the fashion industry as more than just ways to tote money, mobile phones, and cosmetics,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “These products are functional and fashionable ways for consumers to accessorize, express their personal style, and own a piece of designer fashion, without spending a fortune.”

Wallets are the largest small personal accessories segment, but their 2 percent increase in 2015 was below the pace set by others in the category. The double-digit growth of wristlets brought an additional $15.3 million in sales this past year, almost two-thirds of which came from wristlets with a mobile phone sleeve. Key fobs, although a much smaller portion of the overall small personal accessories category, shaped up to be a key holiday item and drove incremental growth comparable to that of wallets.

Despite differences in segment size and growth rate, price is a common denominator for wallets, wristlets, and key fobs sold in participating department store, national chain, and direct-to-consumer retailers. Products in the $50 to $100 price range were the top dollar sales growth driver in wallets (up 6 percent), and wristlets (up 49 percent). The $50-$100 price point was important for key fobs as well, multiplying their previous year’s sales by a factor of eight.

“Consumers are willing to spend a little more if the perceived value is there, and small personal accessories deliver with product that have splurge appeal with attainable price tags,” added Cohen. “This market has a unique sweet spot for manufacturers and retailers to be aware of, and capitalize on, in order to be competitive and claim their share of the wallet.”

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, 12 months ending December 2015

*Data is representative of retailers that participate in The NPD Group's recently expanded Retail Tracking Service across the department store, national chain, and direct-to-consumer channels. NPD’s current estimate is that the Retail Tracking Service represents approximately 41 percent of the U.S. retail market for Accessories.

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Janine Marshall
The NPD Group
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