Global sales of personal accessories grew by a healthy 13% in 2021, indicating a rapid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic-related losses. Inflation at its highest, continued COVID-19 restrictions in China, and the impact of the war in Ukraine in Europe caused growth to decelerate to only 2% in 2022. These, coupled with continued supply chain issues and decreasing consumer confidence, will make 2023 another challenging year for the personal accessories industry.
Global sales of personal accessories grew by a healthy 13% in 2021, decelerating to only 2% in 2022
Source: Euromonitor International
Companies need to prepare to navigate uncertainty in the year ahead and beyond
Inflation, geopolitical instability, supply chain disruptions, and increased concerns about a recession will remain top of mind for personal accessories companies in 2023, as macro conditions will test their resilience for the fourth year in a row.
The worsened economic outlook has led to weaker business and consumer confidence in some of the largest markets for personal accessories. In the US, business sentiment in Q3 2022 hit its lowest level since 2019, mainly driven by concerns over a potential recession. In the UK, although sentiment shows signs of recovery, it remains below 2019 levels. Similarly, consumer confidence has reached its lowest level since 2019 in China, Germany, the UK and the US. Consumers around the globe are, therefore, expected to be more cautious about their discretionary spending.
The volatile environment will continue to impact global manufacturing in 2023, although more moderately. Although it is too early to talk about a reconfiguration of the global production landscape, fashion companies are already evaluating new supply chain models based on vertical integration, reshoring, nearshoring, or small-batch production.
Rapid change will persist post-pandemic, and brands need to be prepared to navigate an uncertain world by adjusting their strategies quickly to new conditions and changing consumer needs.
Brands expected to pass cost increases to consumers if inflationary pressures continue
Although inflation seems to have peaked, the challenging environment will remain over 2023 and beyond, as the cost-of-living crisis impacts consumers’ disposable incomes and shifts their purchase preferences away from non-essential items.
In 2022, price increases across personal accessories categories remained below inflation globally
This could change in the near future if companies continued to be confronted with inflationary cost pressures from different angles: costs of many raw materials are on the rise, shipping costs have soared, and labour costs are reaching unprecedented levels.Note: UP = Unit prices
The temptation to increase prices across the board is high, but considering consumers’ diminishing disposable incomes, brands should decide carefully before making significant increases to avoid eroding consumer trust, which could lead to volume losses or push lower-income consumers out of the market, hurting the bottom line.
Companies looking beyond their core market for growth opportunities
Though China is expected to remain the largest market for personal accessories in 2027, a real estate market slowdown, lockdowns, and protests against zero-COVID restrictions do not suggest a clear path of recovery for personal accessories in this country.
Companies will therefore shift their attention to other regions/countries for growth opportunities. South Korea, India, Indonesia and Singapore will boost sales in Asia Pacific. As tourists return to the region, sales of personal accessories will benefit, especially in the luxury segment. In Indonesia, government support for local manufacturers is expected to favour new trends, such as pearl-based jewellery.
The Middle East rises as an attractive region in this scenario, as the regional economy is benefiting from strong gas and oil exports. GDP in the United Arab Emirates is expected to grow by 5.3% in 2022 and by 4.7% in 2023, while in Saudi Arabia the economy is expected to grow even faster, at 7.9% in 2022 and 3.7% in 2023, creating opportunities for personal accessories, particularly in the luxury segment.
The Saudi Arabian economy is expected to grow even faster, at 7.9% in 2022 and 3.7% in 2023
Fast-moving consumer trends, strong macroeconomic and demographic indicators, and shifts in consumer behaviour are creating opportunities in Saudi Arabia. The country is placing greater emphasis on the local fashion and luxury industries. The Fashion Commission, established in 2020 and part of the Ministry of Culture, aims to create a thriving fashion space to promote local talent, designers, and international brands, whilst encouraging long-term awareness of culture and heritage. Personal luxury goods, such as designer apparel and footwear, leather goods, jewellery and timepieces, form an integral part of this.Note: HNWIs = High net worth individuals
Read our World Market for Personal Accessories report to learn about other trends shaping the industry, and our article, Can Saudi Arabia be the Future Luxury Capital of the Middle East? for more analysis on opportunities in Saudi Arabia.