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
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
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