Feature Article - November/December 2015

Moving Right Along

New Innovations in Luggage & Travel Goods

By Emily Tipping

Rough & Ready

Speaking of radiant and vibrant colors, black may still dominate the luggage carousel, but more and more consumers are choosing something different.

Another consistent trend over the past several years, hardsided luggage is becoming far more prevalent in the United States than it once was. "Hardsided luggage has been a consistent trend since the beginning of 2015," Fishman said. "Consumers that want hardsided protection but also a lighter weight should be looking for luggage constructed from polycarbonate material, which is scratch-resistant and lighter than plastic."

Chad Glamann, marketing manager for Top Brands Inc., agreed. "Hardsided luggage made with a polycarbonate outer shell is still the dominant new style," he said. "Textured hardsides have become the norm, replacing plain slab hardsides with ribbing and raised molding to create interesting surfaces. Textured exteriors also camouflage any scuffs or scratches better. Self-braking models like the Chatelet from Delsey that keep luggage from drifting are very popular."

Landry also emphasized the preponderance of hardsided luggage, adding that there are two reasons for the trend. "One is that the public perceives that a hardsided case is going to be better able to protect their stuff," he said, "which isn't necessarily true, but it's a public perception. The second point, which is very true, is that it's a weight factor. Any manufacturer can make a hardsided case significantly lighter than a softsided case. That's really the way the market's going."

Featuring a proprietary, innovative and tough material, the Tumi Tegra-Lite Max Collection provides global travelers with myriad packing features, including an exterior front pocket and zippered expansion capabilities. Tegra-Lite Max packs in enhanced elements that showcase both the technical innovation and intelligent design that goes into each Tumi product. Key advancements include an exterior U-Zip pocket, expansion capabilities, double 360-degree wheels, a new Durafold construction and Tumi's patented X-Brace 45 handle system.

Tumi may be at the cutting edge of innovative hardsided cases, but it's not alone. Other manufacturers also offer strong offerings in this popular segment of the market.

Available through Incentive Concepts, Briggs & Riley is an international brand of luggage and business cases. The newest collection, Sympatico, is a coordinated collection that combines hard spinner cases with soft companion pieces. Take them together and get rolling or remove one and conveniently carry it with you. Available in black, burgundy and marine blue, every bag is backed by a "Simple as that" lifetime warranty, which even covers airline damage.

Samsonite's Omni PC hardside luggage represents the latest in design and function for hardside luggage. Built from 100 percent polycarbonate, Omni provides solid protection and ease of transport via Spinner wheels. The 20-inch product meets most airlines' carry-on specifications. Extremely lightweight yet durable due to a new shell design, it features an integrated TSA lock to secure valuables. The textured surface hides scuffs and scratches, and it's available in a wide color palette, including radiant pink and orange.

Pop Goes the Style

Speaking of radiant and vibrant colors, black may still dominate the luggage carousel, but more and more consumers are choosing something different.

"Different color and texture choices are the current trends driving the category," Glamann said. "More color choices allow travelers to easily identify their baggage at the luggage carousel. Luggage design has been strongly influenced by the world of automobiles, combine color choice with texture to create striking lines and looks."

Fishman added, "Black continues to dominate the trending color market for luggage, but graphite and shades of gray are beginning to become very popular."

Purple is also popular, Glamann said, from deep purples that border on black to lighter shades veering toward pink. "White is making a comeback as well, with eggshell and off-whites leading the way."

Cassius agreed that white was becoming a more common choice.

"Bright colors denote a return to optimism and a desire to look fresh," Duncan said, "and this is something we are seeing in luggage. Check out some of our own colorful offerings. Prints, especially in the hard side, are also trending, and we are proud to be leading in this category."

But it's not only colors that make a traveler stand out. Stylish choices abound.

For example, the Piel Leather Large Classic Satchel Carry-On is handmade in Colombia, South America, with full-grain Colombian Cowhide. This genuine leather carry-on satchel features a top zippered opening to the main compartment with an interior zippered pocket for secure storage. Additionally, the bag offers a side clasp hook on each side that alters the design for a smaller bag, double padded straps for easy carrying and an adjustable, detachable shoulder strap. It's available in charcoal, toffee brown and honey brown and is customizable with debossing and embroidery imprint options available.

Tumi also embodies style, and its Alpha Bravo collection is no exception. The Tumi Alpha Bravo Collection for Fall 2015 focuses on design, functionality and versatility. The collection offers casual styles for the consumer who lives life on the move.