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The luggage industry is one which exists in a series of parts. First, the purchase of the luggage; be it a suitcase, a large backpack, or a hold-all. Second, the luggage accessories and those elements and products which we purchase in order to organise our packing and make sure that our luggage is well organised and kept crease-free on holiday. And then the transference of luggage from our home to our destination, in the hold or cabin of a plane, or in the back of a car, coach, or train carriage.
One of the inevitable parts of travel and tourism is the transportation of luggage. And with package holidays now including luggage and baggage allowance either as part of the pre-paid deal or as an add-on for the consumer to select and include in their deal, we tend to find that planes and trains are now built with the space and capability to fit the baggage of all guests and consumers.
So, how does the baggage and suitcase industry work and what does that industry rely on in order to grow and develop in line with modern demand?
With so many different methods of travel now available to the modern consumer, retailers and manufacturers have thus adapted their luggage provisions in order to meet the plethora of different needs presented by the everyday consumer. Suitcases are of course at the top of the luggage market, with big ranges of sizes available from overnight suitcases through to those with enough capacity for a multiple week holiday for various family members. Where suitcases were once stiff in their construction with a very bulky structure, modern suitcases are much softer and tend to be adjustable in depth with the newest models adding extra capacity through the release of an extra layer of fabric zippered into the suitcase lid. Not only does this allow for extra packing either before or during the holiday to bring home souvenirs, but it also provides the suitcase with enhanced versatility and means that the consumer can use the same suitcase across a range of different uses and trips.
Another growing type of baggage in the industry refers to sports equipment – namely items like bike boxes which have been designed especially, to provide a bicycle with a padded and protective space in which to fit and be transported around the world. By making the transport of these pieces of equipment easier, consumers are able to benefit from the use of their own possessions rather than facing having to hire items; something which is of particular benefit to those involved in the growing world of sportif’s and races abroad.
And then we have the baggage which doesn’t get checked in by the provider at all, but which is instead kept in the care of the consumer and taken on board the plane or train as what we call hand luggage. For the most part, the rules around what can be placed in hand luggage and more restrictive than those items which can be left in checked baggage and suitcases, primarily because the hold baggage will be stored away while hand luggage contains items that the consumer will have access to for the duration of their travel. For example, the rules around hand luggage, particularly on airplanes, is particular strict regarding liquids on board – with most airlines and providers capping the quantities at 100ml. Meanwhile checked baggage has no limit on liquids – thus requiring clever packing on the part of the consumer.
Other restrictions placed on hand luggage include:
While these rules tend to be most prominent on airplanes, there are some railway and train stations which will provide security checks particularly with regards to metal being taken on board, as a result of past instances involving the hijacking of large transportation vehicles like planes.
Of course, for every airline or airport, train station or coach station, complete with paying travellers and their luggage provisions, we also have those who are employed to ensure that the luggage gets to the right place. Picture for a moment a busy airport or a large transfer coach station, filled with hundreds and thousands of guests all heading out to their own destinations and boarding different planes fitted by different airlines. The likelihood of even just one of the suitcases going missing or heading to the wrong destination is high – and that is why teams of baggage handlers are employed all over the world to be responsible for loading suitcases and baggage onto planes and trains both safely and efficiently so as not to disrupt the order and management of the airport or train station. Once the baggage has been checked in by the consumer, their expectation is that their baggage will be handled with respect and with an eye to making sure it gets to the right place without issue – in fact, some consumers go so far as to check in prized possessions such as sporting equipment and bicycles; all of which is also placed in the hold and thus must be sorted onto the correct trail to the right destination.
When it comes to ascertaining the top products in the luggage and suitcase industry, the first thing that consumers should note is that there has never been a better time to find luggage options which are tailored to and created for their different needs. With many retailers now offering luggage and suitcase sets, families can travel with a matching set of baggage which makes it easier to identify; or single travellers can pick between a range of differently sized suitcases in order to give themselves sufficient packing space according to their travel needs. One of the leading benefits of matching sets, particularly those which utilise bold and vibrant colours and designs, is the fact that they are easy for the consumer to identify in the bust airport or in the back of a coach – helping them to ensure that they take home the right suitcase and do not end up with someone else’s luggage. By investing in a luggage or suitcase set, consumers will likely find that they are able to save money and take home a broader selection of sizes and options for different kinds of travel.
Another leading trait of the more modern luggage products is their weight and the fact that manufacturers now put great focus on ensuring that their products are as light as possible to make it easier for consumers to sit inside the weight bracket as allowed by the airline or travel provider in their terms and conditions. This may not be a direct money saving design feature, but if it helps keep the consumer away from paying a fine for overweight luggage then it is an investment worth making.
The top products as defined in the luggage industry are those which can be used as bags and which are designed to transport more specific items across a range of different travel methods. The top products include:
To look at the trends in the luggage and suitcase industry, we cannot bypass the importance of security and the way in which luggage and suitcases are so intrinsically linked with our entire travel experiences of security provisions. When you arrive at the airport especially, after checking in hold luggage you will find yourself facing the security barrier which both you and your hand luggage must go through in order to pass through to the departure hall. This is where any objects listed as not allowed in hand luggage will be flagged, and where many consumers find themselves stopped either for random body searches or for searches sparked by a metal item found on the person – often jewellery, a belt or even evidence of surgery in the past. The growth and development of security processes when it comes to checking luggage and suitcases over the years has tightened and intensified hugely in response to various terror threats, with many operators and providers now advising consumers to leave a couple of hours before travel to ensure they can clear security in plenty of time.
When it comes to purchasing luggage and suitcases, this is where we come across the various retail trends which are designed to both enhance the user experience and functionality of the piece and are becoming increasingly important as aesthetic trends as well. Interestingly, alongside the rise in modern suitcases there has been a big resurgence in those which resemble the old fashioned and vintage suitcases which were once the norm – fashioning large decorative objects from sturdy structures encased in leather and often printed with decorative stamps which give the suitcase an artistic level and appearance of wear and tear. Of course, those manufacturers creating these vintage pieces have had to install hardier security mechanism and channel more focus into the usability and versatility of the items, however for the most part they are made to resemble and reflect the older models of suitcase which were once commonplace and are now popular for the history they provide.
To look at modern suitcases today, one of the biggest trends that consumers will see is the way that these suitcases are now designed in order to ensure that the consumer is able to easily pack various belongings into individual and separated compartment and sections. The rise in suitcase accessories has meant that consumers now have a chance to organise and pack according to their own preferences and requirements, with zip lock and even vacuum pack bags on the rise as part of the suitcase accessory market to make packing easier. Another part of this relates to the security and privacy of the contents of a suitcase – far from the clasps which once kept suitcases fastened, the modern zips of today are easy to open and thus must be protected with some of lock, with many consumers investing in small coded padlocks to latch around the two ends of the zip and hold them together to protect the contents during travel.
For the most part, any trend which takes hold in a retail market is designed to optimise the user experience and provide a solution to some form of problem – be it safety related or not. In the suitcase and luggage market, the main innovations and adaptations in product lines come as a result of consumer shifts in terms of travel – including the length of holidays, the kinds of holidays that consumers are going on, and the kind of luggage provisions that they look to for comfort and ease of use. Backpacking is one of those trends which has been growing over the last few years and which essentially sees individuals and groups of travellers committing to an adventure with just what they can pack into a large backpack. These types of luggage tend to sit somewhere between hand baggage and hold luggage in terms of their size, with outdoor retailers being those most likely to provide the luggage which are reliable and hardy enough for such usage. And it isn’t just backpackers who are increasing the demand for these kinds of large but easily portable bags – weekend break travellers, young travellers and even outdoor travellers are all increasingly turning away from suitcases and towards more portable styles of luggage which make travel easier, particularly for those who are planning on moving around during their travel and visiting a series of different destinations – as is becoming the norm across modern holidaying where consumers are not longer happy to just sit in one resort or location.
The luggage and suitcase industry is one which is shaped by changing demand – with consumers constantly looking for suitcases and baggage options which provide versatility and can be used across a range of different travel styles. For the best options and deals on the market, shop seasonally and check out our latest vouchers in the luggage market.
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