Retailers, especially department stores, are luring in shoppers with larger accessories assortments, and not just handbags, according to a report from retail and fashion technology firm Edited. U.K. department store John Lewis stocks 44% more than a year ago, Nordstrom 36.5% and Macy's 8%, Edited found. Lower-price online apparel retailers Asos and Boohoo have trimmed back their accessories category by 16% each, however, with jewelry assortments down 23% at both retailers, according to the report.
But there are shifts in demand for various types of jewelry, with necklaces trending down the most. Necklaces this year have fallen 8.6%, bracelets are down 2.7% and rings are down 3.2%, all shrinking in favor of earrings, cufflinks, charms, brooches and anklets, according to a blog post from Edited Senior Retail Analyst Katie Smith.
Earrings of all sorts are dominating the category, according to Edited researchers, who said that the popularity of Instagram and selfies are likely why. Singular earrings, a rising trend, are up 29.5% in two years. Similarly, hats and sunglasses "have been fast moving this year, with berets, baker boy caps, oversized straw hats and tiny winged frames all taking over our feeds," according to the report.
When it comes to accessories, it appears that what you see is what you get. That is, what can be displayed in a selfie is what shoppers want to buy.
"Call it the Instagram effect – when you're taking pictures of your face, earrings have a better chance of getting in shot and making a statement about which kind of cool you are," Smith wrote.
Jewelry and other non-handbag accessories represent an often ignored sub-segment, despite the fact that they account for 18% of the apparel market, outpaced only by tops, Edited says. Lee Peterson, executive vice president of brand, strategy and design at retail design firm WD Partners, has told Retail Dive in interviews that accessories are among the highest-margin merchandise in the apparel business.
A variety of other new patterns have emerged as well. For example, a new fashion quirk, wearing just one or mismatched earrings, is stoking purchases of earrings one at a time — sales of singular earrings are up by 29.5% in two years, Edited found.
"There has been an increase in the trend for multiple piercings per lobe, with small hoops on the second, third and fourth piercings," according to the report. "And it turns out, the fewer earrings you buy, the more they'll cost! The average price right now on a single earring is $739.62, while a pair comes out at $417.02 and a whole pack at $21.60."
Expect "the luxury market's backing of singular earrings ... to drive this trend further," Smith said.
Necklaces are poised to make a comeback, but are also in a way influenced by selfie-taking, as with the rising popularity of layers of gold chains, she also said. "Just like the single earring trend, it's the consumers' need to show they're able to curate their look — they're beyond picking up the first thing they see and choose instead to flaunt their tastes by pairing and layering things up."
Pearls, coins and medallions, animal prints, bucket hats and brooches are also emerging as major trends for fall, Edited also found.