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Q: color trends ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: color trends
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: buckinghammike-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 09 Feb 2005 11:17 PST
Expires: 11 Mar 2005 11:17 PST
Question ID: 471835
Two-part question:

What percentage of all luggage is black?

What percentage of all business suits are blue?

I'm interested in U.S. sales.

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 10 Feb 2005 14:06 PST
Hi buckinghammike,

I'm researching your question, and would like a little clarification from
When you say "blue" do you mean navy? Or do you want lighter blues also
included. Navy blue seems to be the "power color," lighter blue more
Also, are you referring to MEN's business suits? 

2) I've got the luggage percentage from the top US seller, who says it's
probably the same for the US market. The luggage association doesn't track
color. Would the percentage of black luggage from this seller suffice?

Thanks, cath-ga

Clarification of Question by buckinghammike-ga on 11 Feb 2005 07:07 PST
Hi, Cath, 

First, thanks for your help. I appreciate it and it looks like you've
made great progress.

I am looking for the navy blue statistic. Men is fine if that's all
there is. Women would be great, too. I am writing a piece on
conformity, so whichever the higher percentage is, be it for male or
male and female combined, is most likey the one I'd use.

As for luggage, I'd be willing to accept the premise that luggage
manufacturers produce similar percentages of colors.

Thanks once again, Mike
Subject: Re: color trends
Answered By: cath-ga on 11 Feb 2005 15:01 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear buckinghammike,

thanks very much for your question, and for clarifying for me!

As you probably know, the number one color in luggage sales in the U.S. 
is black.  Unfortunately, the Travel Goods Association doesn't keep 
track of sales by color, according to John Misiano of the Travel Goods
Showcase publication. Misiano referred me to the folks at Samsonite,
the largest manufacturer of luggage sold in the U.S.

Samsonite's Product Marketing Manager told me that 55-60% of the
luggage Samsonite sells in the U.S. is black. He said that the figure 
is probably the same for the U.S. market in general. (Samsonite, by 
the way, owns several brands, including American Tourister and Lark.)

"By all accounts, the 90-year-old, $700 million, publicly held Samsonite 
Corp. is the big fish, with an estimated 30 percent of U.S. market
share. Insiders point to JCPenney's Jaguar line as having the
market share, raking in 7 percent of overall sales, followed closely
by Atlantic Luggage Co., which captures approximately 6 percent of the
dollars." (from a 1999 article in the Luggage and Leather Goods 
Manufacturers publication.)

Now for your question about the percent of suits sold that are navy blue. 
Once again, you are right that that is the top-selling color in the U.S. 
for men's business suits. (I'm not counting women because their suits can 
be ANY color.) As I've found is often the case with market research, the 
best information to be had cheaply is from a really educated insider.
The menswear industry apparently doesn't track the sale of suits by
Marty Karr, the executive editor of DNR, the menswear daily publication, 
says he's not aware of these figures. He referred me Hartmarx, the number 
one manufacturer of men's suits in the U.S.  They make the Hart, Schaffner 
& Marx brand, the leading brand of quality men's suits sold. I spoke with 
Jerry Marxhausen, the Senior Vice President of Marketing there.
He says that 35% of the suits they sell are navy blue (give or take a 
percent or two) 15% are black, 35% are gray. He says since they sell
mainstream American-style suits, and are by far the largest seller,
this figure would be representative of the nation as a whole.

Just to confirm, I also spoke with Peerless Clothing International, 
a Canadian based company that is the largest manufacturer of men's 
tailored clothing in North America (they market brands including Calvin 
Klein, Ralph Lauren, and their own house brand.)

The Advertising Manager for Peerless gave me these estimates for her 

30% navy suits, 40% black, the rest gray, with a small percentage of tan.

With upscale European-style suits, a larger percentage are black,
however fewer of these expensive suits are sold as a whole.

These two companies make up a huge chunk of the U.S. suit market, so you 
are safe in saying that nearly 35% of the suits sold are navy blue.

I hope that this information is useful for your purposes. If you need
something clarified, please don't hesitate to hit the "Clarify Answer"
button before you rate my work.
Good luck with your piece!

Here are some further resources I found in my research:

DNR- First in Mens Wear News and Trends

Mr, the magazine of Menswear Retailing

Travel Goods Association

American Luggage Dealers Association

Caroline Pisaniello
NPD Fashionworld
Director, Product Development

American Apparel & Footwear association

American Apparel Press Center

A report for $495 titled Luggage and Leather Goods Stores in the U.S.
can be bought at

An organization called infomat, fashion industry information services,
sells reports for $1250 at,

My search strategy:

US luggage sales
market research + luggage
american apparel association
american apparel statistics
american luggage statistics
luggage industry statistics
luggage industry publication
suit sales + color
luggage sales + color
buckinghammike-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you, Cath, for your incredible research. I am amazed by the work
you did. I had no idea I was asking such involved questions.

Subject: Re: color trends
From: markj-ga on 11 Feb 2005 15:39 PST
One travel writer has recently written (apparently in 2004) that "91
percent of all luggage sold in the United States is black":

OAG Official Traveler: "Baggage Beat: The Fed and Capital Hill Gang
Favor Sleek Zero Halliburton, Sharp Swiss Army Luggage," by Chris

The author doesn't give a source for the number, so it's very hard to
say how much credence to give it.
Subject: Re: color trends
From: buckinghammike-ga on 14 Feb 2005 06:54 PST
Mark, that number is amazing. While I expected the amount of luggage
produced would roughly meet the demand for that luggage (i.e. 60% of
all luggage produced is black, 60% of all luggage bought would be
blacK) the 91% statistic is more in line with what I would have
guessed. So I have it, can you give me the source data for the 91%



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