Luxury apparel stalls as Millennials spend more on accessories

Luxury accessories are increasingly popular, especially with new generations of consumers. But designer clothes are losing out in the fray. A study conducted by British business analysis firm Edited shows how the gap between sales of accessories and clothing has widened, based on US consumer purchases made between January to June.


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The report, cited by Digiday-owned website Glossy, analyzed sales of 30 leading US fashion retailers during the first six months of 2017. Sales of luxury handbags at full price increased by 22%, as did scarves and hats, which rose by 20% and 83% respectively. During the same period, clothing sales at full price plummeted in comparison, dropping 34.5%
 
 
Designer clothes seem to be losing their allure, especially for millennials, because of the rise of fast fashion brands such as Zara, H & M, Uniqlo, and their ability to quickly copy luxury brands seen on the catwalk, get them into stores and offer them at prices that beat out all competition.

Why spend mad sums for a piece from such-and-such a label when the consumer can obtain more or less the same model at a modest price just a few days later? Given that logos are less visible on clothing, price-sensitive young consumers prefer to spend most of their budget on accessories, putting together looks with fast fashion pieces and a few luxury accessories.

"With its low prices and swiftly developing trends, fast fashion has facilitated this demographics endless switching up of garments,” wrote Katie Smith in the report, 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,” she continued in her analysis.
 
Accessories are often a gateway to the world of luxury for younger buyers. And for many houses, this product category is one of the most profitable, bringing in the lion's share of turnover.
 
Gucci has proven to be the most adept at seducing these young customers. Millennials went big for bags by Kering's flagship brand under the creative auspice of Alessandro Michele, with sales literally exploding over the first six months of 2017 (+595%) according to Edited's report. Following close behind were Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana.
 

Translated by Susan Spies

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