Pictured: Tumi luggage remains a popular incentive item
Luggage and incentive programs go hand-in-hand, says Mike Landry, vice president of special markets for Tumi.
While there is some evidence suggesting some stagnation in electronics incentives, typically the volume king in any program, Landry says, "There has not been, for example, any major must-have developments in flat-screen TVs for a few years now, and essentially, everyone who wants one already has one. So, the trend has been for merchandisers to increase the bandwidth in fashion, and luggage, day bags, business cases, and travel accessories certainly all fall into that category."
Adds Pete Mitchell, director of B2B sales for Samsonite and Hartmann. "There's always another luggage product configuration that helps the participant transport their belongings in a new or more efficient way."
According to Persistence Market Research's report, "Global Market Study on Luggage: Travel Bags to Witness Highest Growth by 2020," the global luggage market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.8 percent during 2014 to 2020 and to reach an estimated value of $43.4 billion in 2020.
Increasing urbanization is influencing demand. Asian and African countries are expected to experience the highest urban growth in the future. Urbanization drives several trends inside the luggage and travel accessory categories. "Urban dwellers tend to commute using public transportation and there is a syndrome of having a status symbol piece hanging from your shoulder," explains Landry. "Urbanites will notice personal accessories on a train or bus. So, brands that are seen by people in public transportation settings such as sunglasses, watches, daybags, business cases and more recently, backpacks, become extremely important."
High net-worth individuals who tend to be more particular about their security and privacy are purchasing high-end luggage with in-built GPS tracking devices.
Samsonite, in partnership with LugLok, will introduce GeoTrakR, a GPS-enabled bag that will retail at $300, in the fall.
In future studies of the luggage market, Mitchell says, it will be revealed that there is no "global" product anymore. "U.S. consumers have requirements that are not as important to Europe or Asian consumers. As a result, we design and build our products to serve a regional audience. Samsonite in Asia is very different from Samsonite in the U.S., and that serves both the consumer and us. It's contributed to the five consecutive years of record sales and profits for our company," Mitchell concludes.