NPD: As Pandemic Travel Restrictions Ease, Luggage and Swimwear Show Distinct Signs of Recovery

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Pent-up demand leads to improvement in consumer spending on travel-related products.

“There is a lot of pent-up demand driving consumer travel aspirations, so travel accessories that are both functional and innovative will be the hot ticket items, as people prepare for upcoming trips," Beth Goldstein, NPD.

When consumer travel spending came to a screeching halt in 2020, the travel accessories market in the U.S. lost $1.8 billion however, following the mass rollout of vaccinations this year, rising consumer interest in travel has led to a steady improvement in luggage sales, which continue to climb back to 2019 levels. In March and April 2021, luggage sales returned to 80% of their 2019 levels, according to The NPD Group (

An NPD consumer survey conducted in May 2021 revealed that approximately one-third of respondents expected to return to their pre-pandemic leisure- and business-travel behavior in the next three months, and another quarter expect to do so within four to six months. Beginning in January 2021, travel spending began to trend upward, with the exception of cruises. Spending on airlines, lodging and with online travel agencies grew 53% in March 2021 versus March 2020, and was almost 90% higher than February 2021, although remained about 30% below March 2019 levels.

“While luggage sales in the U.S. have not yet fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels, the market is moving in the right direction,” said Beth Goldstein, accessories and footwear industry analyst for NPD. “There is a lot of pent-up demand driving consumer travel aspirations, so travel accessories that are both functional and innovative will be the hot ticket items, as people prepare for upcoming trips.”

In addition to luggage, sales of swimwear have also been on the rise – another indicator that consumers are preparing to travel in the near-term. The swimwear category has improved quite a bit since December 2020. In fact, March 2021 sales growth rose by 185% compared to 2020.
Total swimwear sales in March 2021 were up even compared to before the pandemic, with dollars increasing 32% compared to March 2019.

Comparing March 2021 swimwear sales of swimwear were 32% higher than they were before the pandemic in 2019, according to Retail Tracking Service information from NPD.

“As more consumers in the U.S. get vaccinated against COVID-19, and as regular travel resumes, the timing is right to ready themselves for swimsuit season,” said Kristen Classi-Zummo, director of apparel market insights for NPD. “During the Spring Break timeframe this year, we began seeing gains across all swimwear segments – men’s, women’s, and children’s. People are ready to get outdoors and enjoy social settings again, and products related to travel will continue to benefit from those consumer behaviors.”

About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and B2B. We have services in 19 countries worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, and video games. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

Lauren Leetun

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