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Retail Sales of Licensed Accessories


Retail sales of licensed apparel and accessories goods were up a combined 3.5% in 2017, adding over $1.2 billion in value in the U.S./Canada, according to TLL’s Annual Licensing Business Survey. The two product categories generated a combined $37.2 billion in licensed retail sales, or just over 34% of the greater total.

Accessories remained stable at 2.8% growth in 2017, reaching an overall $15.6 billion in retail sales after relatively flat-ish growth of 1.8% in both 2016 and 2015.

  • Eyewear grew 3.5%, even as certain big-label fashion houses brought licensing in-house in 2017. Undaunted, eyewear manufacturers were bullish in securing new brands from the fashion space and ensuring prices remained competitive.
  • Handbags, backpacks, and messenger bags grew 3.2% after falling 1% in 2016 and 2015. Increased collaborations between fashion houses (who had largely brought their programs in-house) and property types like entertainment/character and music drove growth for the adult consumer.
  • Headwear continues to perform well at 2.5% growth thanks to the overall streetwear trend in popular culture, making extensions feasible for a variety of brands. Sports licensing for caps continues to perform well and drive the category.
  • Hosiery was up 2.2% as fashionistas continued to invest in high quality, high price branded designs in leggings, stockings, and socks.
  • Sales of licensed jewelry and watches went up 2.3%, in part because of an influx of licensed brands. Unit sales were largely flat however, with many deals being struck primarily for their promotional value. Higher, luxury-priced ranges sold particularly well.
  • Luggage and travel accessories went up 1.9% as travel and airport sales increased more broadly in 2017.
  • Scarves and ties were up 1.0%, following years of steady declines (-1% in 2016 and -1.6% in 2015). Men’s accessories were the strongest performers, especially for the formal and the more upscale everyday sub-categories.

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