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This statistical article on page 56 of the March 1930 issue of "Hand Bag Modes" sheds light on consumer behavior early in the Depression.

The Average Woman's HANDBAG BUYING Habits

"THE general public doesn't represent the vast, style-conscious, market for women's handbags that many merchants have supposed. That at least is the conclusion that might be drawn from figures presented in the recent luggage and leather goods survey prepared by R. O. Eastman, Inc., for the National Luggage Dealers' Association.

How many handbags do you own? How old is your newest bag? Are you interested in handbags for the occasion, or to match your apparel?

This is some of the information asked of about 1,000 householders in three cities of representative type:

Dayton, Ohio, with about 200,000 population; Richmond, Ind., population about 30,000; Greenville, Ohio, population about 7,000.

Handbag modes at this time merely present the facts and figures. It should be borne in mind, of course, that this survey was limited in scope by lack of time and funds, and is not meant to represent a complete picture of the consumer handbag market of the country. The questions and results follow :

How many handbags owned: A rather large number of women owned no handbag at all. Of those who did, 35% owned 1 bag 30 owned 2 bags 15 owned 3 bags 21 owned 4 or more

The average was between 1 and 2 bags per person for those who owned any at all. How old is the newest bag: The average woman's newest handbag was about a year old, it was discovered. Detailed figures show: 3 months old or less............................ 28.1% 3 to 6 months old................................ 20.8 6 to. 12 months.................................... 28.7 1 year to 18 months............................ 8.1 18 months to 2 years........................ 10.4 Over 2 years old.................................. 4.1

How many handbags bought each year: This question was asked only those who owned handbags : The results were : 28% didn't buy that often 43 bought 1 a year 18 bought 2 a year 11 bought 3 or more a year

How many handbags in active use: Here a difference was noticed in the average of the older women and of their daughters. Among mothers, 51 per cent had 1 bag in active use, 33 per cent had 2 in active use, and 17 per cent had 3 or more in active use. Among daughters: 27% had 1 bag in use 37 had 2 in use 19 had 3 in use 11 had 4 in use 5 had more than 4

SOME of the points emerging from this tabulation of information gathered in the N. L. D. A. survey are: That the number of women who buy hand-bags frequently enough to be considered good repeat buyers is only a small proportion of the total. That a great number have no knowledge of different kinds of leathers, grains, etc., and that they are apparently more impressed by the position of a strap on a hand-bag than by whether it is an envelope, a pouch, etc. The information given here should be of real interest to every hand-bag buyer.

How long are bags kept in active use: 10% count on 6 months 50 up to 1 year 35 2 years and longer 10 scattering answers

During this investigation, which included questions on luggage as well as handbags, many men were interviewed. Men were asked if they bought handbags as gifts. The idea that men often buy bags as gifts is overrated, according to the survey facts. Not many men do so. Women apparently don't approve of their selections.

What features about handbags govern selection in buying: The answers here indicated that material was the governing consideration : Material .................................................. 50% Style ...................................................... 20 Color ...................................................... 15

The relative importance given material, and the apparent unimportance of color, may seem inaccurate. But another question which may throw light on that point is: The amount of interest in bags for the occasion, or to match apparel: Answers to this question indicated that mothers and daughters had opposite ideas on the subject. Over 70 per cent of the mothers showed little or no interest in bags for the occasion, or to match apparel. Daughters, on the other hand, had a 70 per cent majority in favor of this idea. What type of leather handbag preferred: Here some of the women named two types. They were unable to distinguish between the three different types of bags and the style of strap they used, with the following result : Top strap ................................................ 45% Back strap .............................................. 40 Envelope .................................................. 15 Novelties .................................................. 18

What kinds of leather are familiar: About 43 per cent of the women interviewed admitted that they didn't know one kind from another. About 50 per cent of the women couldn't distinguish between the different grains and finishes of leather. The average consumer claimed to be able to distinguish only two varieties. But the truth of the claim is doubtful. Apparently customers need some education on leathers before they can select them intelligently. Where was last bag purchased: 68% bought at a department store 22 bought at leather goods shops 10 bought at miscellaneous places

Of those who went to one shop only, 65 per cent went to a department store, and tried nowhere else. And 23 per cent went to an exclusive leather goods shop only. Of those who shopped at two or three stores before buying, 75 per cent bought at a department store, and 17 per cent bought at a leather goods shop.

What was the outstanding factor in decision on the bag finally purchased: Quality or grade........................40% Style or appearance....................32 Price...................................14 Ruggedness, wear ...................... 9 Convenience of fittings................. 3

Was the type of item desired decided on before starting to look for it: Only 39 per cent answered that they made up their minds before they set out as to what type of handbag they would buy. The other 61 per cent have a more open mind toward window displays and good salesmanship."


Categories: 1930,

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