If you’re not going anywhere in a pandemic, do you still need a handbag? And when you do go somewhere, will you want one? Those are questions posed by a recent New York Times article. The author observed that in these recent months, for the most part, there’s been no need to carry a bag. Moreover, the typical large and/or heavy handbag is inappropriate for long walks, bike riding and protests. Even when some normalcy returns (whether old or new normal), the need for bags may not.
But, perhaps luxury handbags are different. To be fair, even in the best of times, a paper or plastic sack would work just as well as something fancy. And yet, pre-pandemic, the high-end bag market was pretty hot. Designer brands often strived to create the next “it” bag, hoping to boost ready-to-wear sales revenues.
The past few months we’ve written about what will happen to the luxury handbag market post-pandemic. Like you, we ponder whether we really need a new handbag to go from the kitchen to the bedroom (we don’t, but it could be fun). With COVID-19 the new necessaries are masks, sanitizer, and gloves, and perhaps our bags need to be designed for them.
While stores (and production and shipping facilities) were shuttered, purchasing options were limited… but not nonexistent. High end resellers prospered… at least better than most. Some folks were still buying Birkins and Kellys, in particular (read: Hermès Resellers Flourish in Lockdown).
Furthermore, as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dior raised prices during this crisis, so many PurseBop readers lamented the change, but few claimed to be done buying. Moreover, with supply apparently low right now for Hermès bags, at least in the United States, demand is building. Whether it is sustainable as the pandemic and economic fallout continue, remains to be seen.
Read: Even in a Global Shutdown, Hermès Leads the Luxury Industry.
The point, however, is that high end luxury handbags are not just tools for transporting stuff. For many, a coveted bag is a fashion statement or the completion of an ensemble. It can signal achievement and status – or be a reward for success (read: What Happens If Everyone is Carrying Hermès But You). Or anything else you want it to be. But, it’s not always just a handbag.
Updated: July 24th, 2020