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Top Trends Shaping Personal Accessories in 2024 and Beyond

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After moderate growth in 2022, global sales of personal accessories grew more strongly in 2023; however, geopolitical issues, the cost-of-living crisis and China’s slow recovery suggest a challenging macro environment, pushing brands to navigate into uncharted waters once again in 2024. Stricter regulations on sustainability, channel shifts, the continued digital transformation, and changing consumer habits are expected to shape the industry in the years ahead.

Macro trends take priority over industry-specific themes

Over half of fashion industry professionals state “inflation and cost of living crisis” as the main trend impacting the industry over the next five years

Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry Survey 2023

Increases in prices across consumer goods have left people with diminished purchasing power, which will force them to prioritise their spending and cut out non-essential items such as personal accessories.

At the same time, 39% selected “increase profitability” as the top priority, looking ahead. Supply chain issues during the pandemic, followed by a high inflation environment across the globe, have made formulating a pricing strategy a challenging task. On the one hand, brands and retailers have felt the pressure of increased cost of goods; on the other, they do not want to risk volume sales by passing these costs on to consumers, whose budgets have already been tightened.

Euromonitor International’s Inflation Projection Tool shows how the industry absorbed the increases and sacrificed margins since 2021 through to mid-2023. In fine jewellery, this gap averaged 17 points and peaked in November 2022 at 28 points.

Chart showing Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) vs Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Fine Jewellery

Growth in COGS started to moderate in the second half of 2023, but with the developing conflict in the Red Sea, it is expected that costs will rise once again, further pushing for unwanted price increases or margin sacrifice.

Regulatory environments around sustainability tighten, calling brands to act

After years of loud debate around sustainable fashion but little concrete action, we are now starting to see governments seeking to change business models and consumers’ habits in the years to come. A series of regulations are on the agenda or about to come into effect in the US and the EU. 

38% of industry professionals selected sustainability as one of the key trends impacting sales, and a quarter of them expect stricter regulations over the next five years

Source: Euromonitor Voice of the Industry 2023

The pressure also comes from the consumers, but post-pandemic and per Euromonitor's Voice of the Consumer: Sustainability Survey, fielded January and February 2023, consumers seem to be more pessimistic about their ability to impact the environment and identify “high price relative to non-sustainable alternatives” (41%), “unclear labelling” (28%), and “I’m not sure what sustainable features to look for” (25%) as the three top barriers to sustainable purchases.

In addition to complying with forthcoming regulations, brands have the responsibility to communicate their sustainability initiatives effectively and transparently to consumers. And even more importantly, to make sustainable products available and accessible for most people, “affordable sustainability” is a must.

The industry embraces omnichannel as its digital transformation journey continues

Globally, e-commerce accounted for 19% of sales of personal accessories in 2023, up from 13% in 2019

Source: Euromonitor International

Online sales growth has slowed significantly since 2022, as COVID-19 restrictions ease across the world and consumers have avidly returned to stores. The share of retail offline has thus recovered some of the lost share, but in 2023 this was still six percentage points lower than pre-pandemic.

The shift to e-commerce did not happen only because of DTC brands taking share, but also because store-based retailers, such as department stores and specialists, have invested heavily in developing their online channels and digital presence in the last four years. It is expected that this trend will continue, but adjusted, as companies also plan to invest in improving their offline offering.Chart showing Top Five Technologies Impacting Business in the Next Five Years

Technology continues to reshape the industry and 2023 was a year of massive evolution for artificial intelligence, as generative AI technologies reached new levels of impact and performance. According to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry Survey, fashion professionals consider artificial intelligence and generative AI to be the top two technologies impacting business in the next five years. Furthermore, 46% of professionals stated their companies plan to invest in artificial intelligence in the next five years, while 39% plan to invest in generative AI.

Brands have started to test the waters, with pilots and initiatives to explore the rapidly growing technology. Customer service and content creation seem to be entry areas for brands to embark on using this technology, but opportunities go beyond this. From design and product creation, to inventory management, to improving overall productivity, to predicting trends, and to redefining consumer interactions, the impact of generative AI is only starting to be seen.

On top of the trends mentioned above, personal accessories brands are tasked to closely track and respond to emerging consumer trends beyond those surging from generational differences. The economic environment has turned consumers into value hackers. Sustainability concerns make them fight against greenwashing, while favouring circular business models. New technologies influence their decisions, means of communication, and where and how they purchase their personal accessories products.

Read our report, World Market for Personal Accessories, or our article, Unlocking the Gen Z Code to Revolutionise Jewellery Sales, for more analysis on the key trends shaping the industry.

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