Are Millennials Less Concerned About Handbag Brand Names?

by Maura Carlin

A new report says millennials are lagging… in bagging purses. A study by the NPD Group in partnership with Stylistics finds that although handbag sales increased by 5% since 2014 in the United States, purchases by the 18-34 year olds rose only 2 percent. Baby boomers are picking up the slack and treating themselves to top shelf brand, it seems. Perhaps even impulsively.

Millennials, on the other hand, treat purse adoption with the careful, detailed analytic approach usually reserved for automobiles, rather than clothing.  NPD Group characterized the “handbag purchase journey” as “complex, rational and emotional.” As stated on “the shopping task starts more than a month in advance among 41% of millennials, and 61% of them start browsing for choices online first before pulling the plug on a final purchase.” This group also is more concerned with quality, details and style than brand names. In other words, move over Chanel… here comes Mansur Gavriel.

Color me cynical, but surely the availability (or lack thereof) of disposable income plays a role. Isn’t this the generation having trouble making a living wage upon completion of its education and confronting astronomical debt on student loans? I haven’t seen the NPD Group report and don’t know whether these factors were considered – or whether the shopping pattern is a change from when boomers were 18-34 years old.

High end brands offer an aspirational lifestyle/look. Isn’t that supposed to be something to look forward to as you age? If you care. In my early 20s (confession, I am not a millennial), I could neither afford nor imagine shelling out for a Chanel classic flap, even though I admired chic Coco style. By my early 30s, I lusted after a Chanel suit… but couldn’t justify it before having children (and not knowing how my figure would change).


Millennials, whom are defined as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). And Generation X (ages 35-50 in 2015) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028. Is spending really ‘age’ related or strictly ‘disposable income’ related? L to R @swedishandstylish @upcloseandstylish @bycamelia

Do you think Millennials are more cautious and less brand conscious? Or do they just have less disposable income? Will this change as they age? Let’s discuss in the conversation on BopTalk.

Love PurseBop





Published: May 20th, 2016
Updated: May 27th, 2017

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4 Responses to “Are Millennials Less Concerned About Handbag Brand Names?”

  • I believe it’s lack of disposable income; I feel like that’s why some of the more affordable brands like Rebecca Minkoff and Tory do so well! Tory has her logo stamped all over her bags, shoes, and apparel- and seems to be extremely popular with Millenials.

  • As a millennial, I find that my peers are more brand conscious. The Internet and technology creates easy accessibility to the latest trends and what celebrities are wearing, which are usually designer. I agree with the lack of disposable income as a major factor with less purchases. College debt is also much higher these days. However, financial limitations do not necessarily affect one’s brand preference.

    Personally, I believe the price is justifiable for product quality. Craftsmanship and intricacy are two factors I consider when determining a purchase. I do not dabble in the current popular millennial brands like Rebecca Minkoff or Michael Kors. For me, I think those bags are more “expensive” in terms of the lower quality.

    Many of my friends also own high-end brands, while my other friends believe it is a waste of money. I am currently 21 and I have just started my Hermes collection with 2B and 1SO; I have been purchasing less expensive designer items since 16. While Generation X may think I am too young, I do not think that owning luxury items lowers my future aspirations. Rather, I see it as more motivation to try harder in order to maintain my current lifestyle in the future and achieve even more.

  • I see a lot of young Asian women buying in LV stores, it has been a trend for many years, I always wonder how they can at such a young age and assume that they are from a wealthy background, I see it also in Gucci store, not so much in Chanel ( true that will a decade or 2 older women ) Hermès I don’t know because where I live they don’t even have a store ???? The closest will be Palm Beach ( 2 1/2 hours away), Again it depends what background you had growing up that will determine who you are..what you like and what you wear, ( at least for me) a lot of young generation people will go crazy for Michael Kors, but if you look closer it is not a good quality, I once bought a pair of ballerina, and said never again!!!.. As I was younger I started to buy Gucci accessories for my mother first then in my mid twenties for myself, then a few years later I switched to LV, but I still can’t go higher than that yet ???????? but hopefully one day I will…
    Younger generation can be very trendy ( within their price range) what I don’t like is to see a woman carrying a very expensive purse with no style about herself, it’s just a bag with no foundation….thank you as always for your great article ❤️????????

  • I think it depends on ones upbringing. As a millennial who came admittedly from the upper middle class I never thought much of designer handbags. I knew my grandmother carried Chanel (which I thought was nice), my mother carried Coach everyday (but I never thought of it as really a “brand”) and I didn’t much care for my cousin’s Birkin bags- I thought they looked dated.
    I went through a time of hating Prada (and that stupid triangle), loathing LV (can you blame me? IT was EVERYWHERE and had such a horrid brown plastic look), and not paying much attention to the rest. I was more stylish than my peers in that I dressed more classically (tan trousers, white button up brooks brothers shirt, Hermes scarf, blue blazer – my go to wardrobe choice when I wasn’t stuck in a uniform). Since reaching my late 20’s I have branched out a bit, I love Anthropologie, Hobbs, Winser London, Ted Baker, the Really Wild Clothing Company, and even Shrine of Hollywood. But as for handbags, while I have a collection of nice designer ones due to my husband giving them to me as gifts I’m not sure that I would ever have become a handbag gal if it wasn’t for my living in Japan for 3 years where they were EVERYWHERE. That is what made me a shopper as well (prior to that I hated shopping). So if I hadn’t had that experience I am quite sure I would not care for handbags at all even now.