This classification includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing women's handbags and purses of leather or other materials, except precious metals. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing precious metal handbags and purses are classified in SIC 3911: Jewelry, Precious Metal.
The women's handbag and purse industry produces all women's handbags and purses of leather and other materials, except precious metals. Approximately 66 percent of the domestic handbags shipped in the United States in the mid-2000s were made of leather. Handbag shipments declined steadily from the late 1990s into the early twenty-first century due mainly to competition from imports. Shipments were $287 million in 1997, $246 million in 2000, and $210 million in 2002. However, revenues rose during the mid-2000s and by 2005 shipments were $440 million. Total industry employment for all leather manufacturing, including luggage, women's handbags and purses, personal leather goods, and other leather goods, declined from 16,208 workers in 2002 to 15,673 workers in 2005. The total value of women's handbags and purses that were exported by the United States in 2006 equaled only $226 million, while the value of imports totaled nearly $2.4 billion. The handbag and purse industry was worth more than $3 billion at decade's end.
Although revenues were on the rise, profits were on the decline as shoppers flooded to outlets versus retailers. In fact, industry leader, Coach Inc.'s profits fell 32.8 percent in the fourth-quarter of 2009. That trend was expected to continue until the economy rebounded and consumers have more confidence in spending. "Given the ongoing uncertainty regarding economic conditions and consumer spending, we are continuing to plan conservatively, as we focus on managing our business for the long term." Coach's chairman and CEO, Lew Frankfort told Just-Style magazine in July 2009.
Background and Development