Why fashion totes are such big business

Goyard tote.

Goyard tote.

Photo: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

According to Net-a-Porter market director Libby Page, the site has seen a 300 per cent increase in searches for leather tote bags in the last month, representing a shifting desire for more XL, utilitarian-style bags across the board. It’s no wonder that the tote bag market is set to be worth $3.6 billion by 2030, per Data Bridge Market Research.

However, as more affordable totes like the lauded $40 LL Bean trend alongside, will these high-ticket items sustain their staying power?

“In the post-Covid world and at a time when we are following hybrid lifestyles — moving from the office to the home as well as the gym — we need a bag that can incorporate everything, whilst many will also want a bag that also serves as an aspirational product. The luxury tote serves its purpose and ticks all the boxes,” says Fflur Roberts, head of luxury goods at market research firm Euromonitor International.

“People want to use their money on things that are practical and that they can use,” agrees Gabriel Rylka, founder of luxury fashion resale platform Break Archive, who adds that they’ve noticed an increase in sourcing requests for larger tote bags as of late. “In the last two years I’ve become so overstimulated by all these micro-trends exploding on social media and I want to put my comfort and utility first. What better way to do that than a big bag? One that I can put my whole life into, take it with me everywhere and use it everyday for work.”

The tote as a walking billboard

Totes have historically been perceived as low-ticket cotton items used for the gym and as shopping bags. So, what should we make of the luxury versions?

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