American Industry Overview: Luggage

This category covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing luggage of leather or other materials. The luggage industry produces a wide variety of products, including suitcases, briefcases, attache cases, hand luggage, tote bags, trunks, and occupational cases. Materials used in addition to leather include plastics, nylon, cotton, linen, and metals. Many products use a combination of these materials. Construction methods include sewing, molding, and laminating.

Industry Snapshot

Luggage shipments decreased steadily during the late 1990s and early 2000s, rising to $639 million in 2005. The terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, had a significant impact on the travel industry, including luggage, but by the mid-2000s, the United States was seeing an upswing in number of people traveling.

The upswing was short-lived. When the economy took a turn for the worse in mid-2008, and the unemployment rate skyrocketed, airlines experienced empty seats from pleasure and business travelers by the first quarter of 2009. In addition, travelers were foregoing that extra checked luggage and traveling lighter, thus making fewer luggage purchases. Sales of suitcases and garment bags were valued at $950 million in 2009.

Background and Development