Dubai: Everyone’s back to travelling – and that can only be a good thing for airlines, hotels, cities. Of course, for luggage brands too.
The people over at Samsonite International have no nit-picking when they look at the trends lighting up the global travel industry, one which is setting itself up for a blockbuster Summer. Subrata Dutta, President for Asia-Pacific and Middle East at Samsonite, reckons the company has covered all possible bases.
Even when it comes to meeting the choices of the Gen Z travellers.
“Gen Z is particular about colours and trends, and the bag today is treated more like apparel,” said Dutta. “The bags have to be serving two purposes - fashion and functionality.
“Style without any substance is not what GenZ are looking for. At the same time, you cannot manufacture an engineering delight that doesn’t look stylish.”
Samsonite has been able to keep up with Gen Z’s changing preferences – and these tend to change almost at warp speed - by creating luggage that serve both purposes.
“This generation prefers recyclable products,” said Dutta. “We’ve launched our ‘Proxis’ range, which is made in Europe with fully recyclable shells.
A lot of the changes in the consumer patterns towards travel and the luggage they pick for those trips stem from the post-lockdown phases during Covid. This led to demand for baggage that is not just functional but ticks all the fashion elements too. Or they should look good when the traveller takes a selfie at the airport or wherever.
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“Before the pandemic, it was just about reaching the destination,” said Dutta. “Now, people are spending a lot more effort, time and money on what they carry with them during the travel.”
With the average purchase cycle for bags becoming shorter, people are buying multiple bags. Of course, there is also the need to be at physical stores to touch and feel what they are buying into.
But Samsonite still gets its fair share from online shopping, which contributes about 18 per cent of overall sales.
Apart from the flagship brand, the company owns the prestige luggage label Tumi, and then is the budget-friendly American Tourister.
“How to get the smallest of things - like how you reduce the weight of the bag from 5 kilogram 15 years back to 2.2- or 1.8-kilogram - is innovation for us.”
Samsonite clearly is well into this particular trip.