Why is it so Hard to Buy a Hermès Bag Online?


hermes online shopping | hermes website bag dropThis one’s for the folks repeatedly hitting refresh on the Hermès website  hoping to catch the newest and latest drop. Whether searching for silks, homewares, or just a glimpse of coming colors, we know what you don’t see… at least not often. Or anymore at all. Handbags. But… 

hermes online shopping | hermes website bag drop

Once upon a time it was common to purchase a Hermès bag online. We know, it’s hard to believe – and even difficult to remember – but it was possible. Not Birkins or Kellys, of course; those holy grail bag sales always were and are limited to boutiques and, as we well know, are far from guaranteed. 

However, the Hermès website used to include an assortment of bags to purchase online. The offerings included, but not necessarily all at the same time, Evelyne, Picotin, Halzan, Herbag, Lindy, Garden Party, Jige, and Constance Wallet (to be used as a clutch), to name a few. Naturally, color and leather options were limited, and you needed to act quickly lest the bag be snapped up by some other lucky shopper. 

Now, however, these bag sightings on hermes.com are few and far between. The site’s menu includes a section for Bags and Small Leather Goods, but for women, there’s little there. Checking consistently during one week in January 2023, there was a $21,400 Space Malice bag and a  $10,300 Multiplis Hermès clutch. That’s it folks. And this has become the norm, not an aberration.

And even if you manage to catch one momentarily, it’s typically gone before you can hit “add to cart” or purchase. These bags seem to be only a mirage to those thirsty for a new Hermès bag. 

hermes online shopping | hermes website bag drop

This shift away from buying Hermès handbags from the website is impressive in retrospect. Although we cannot precisely pinpoint the onset, clearly there has been an evolution in bag availability and protocol. Certainly as stock levels generally diminished, if not disappeared during the height of the pandemic, so did bags. When boutiques (and production facilities) shuttered for health concerns, neither boutiques nor the website offered many handbags, if any. As we wrote at the time, Hermès cannot sell products it doesn’t make, whether through brick and mortar stores or a website.


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However, now that restrictions have eased, bags are being produced, and boutiques are open, handbags remain largely offline. Reflecting on this though, it does seem consistent with other changes recently observed at Hermès, particularly regarding handbags. 


hermes online shopping | hermes website bag drop

Obtaining any bag – even non-quota styles – has become more difficult. Whereas once you could purchase, say, a Picotin or Garden Party to help build a profile and spend hoping for a future Birkin, now access to those handbags is limited. In fact, by some accounts, obtaining a non-quota bag could even prevent a quota bag buy. 


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In addition, the definition of a quota bag has changed. For example, the Kelly variations like the Kelly Pochette, Kelly Danse, Kelly Cut and Kelly To Go used to be considered non-quota bags. Not anymore; now, in most stores, they count as quota bags. 



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Even boutique shelves (with some exceptions like FSH and the newly redone NYC stores) are largely empty of bags. Where once you could admire different (non-quota) styles, you now see shoes or home goods. Hermès’ website is no different. Handbags are not easily for sale anymore.

Tell us, do you remember when you could buy a Hermès bag from the website? If so, what, if anything, did you purchase? Do you miss those days?