Continuing with my series of “Staff Picks”……. this week I interviewed Irv’s Luggage’ top luggage buyer, Phil. Phil has been in the luggage business for over 30 years, and he too definitely has his opinions on travel luggage. In my interview however, Phil chose not to talk about his “favorite picks”; instead, he focused on the three trends he sees emerging in the luggage industry and the current buying philosophies of the 2011 consumer: 1) the rise of larger lightweight luggage 2) purchasing luggage with a lifetime warranty and 3) the rise of spinner luggage.
As Phil explained, while carry-on bags continue to be big sellers, he has seen a shift from purchasing moderate (24” – 25”) sized bags to larger (28” – 30”) bags. This is primarily due to the changes in fees being charged by the airlines (many are now charging high fees for a second bag) and the lightweight technology that allows consumers to fit much more into one larger bag while staying under the 50 lb weight limit; making these “larger bags” a much better choice for today’s travelers. The larger 28” bags previously weighing 17 lbs. are now weighing-in at 7-9 lbs lighter. Thus the benefits of carrying a 24” or 25” bag no longer exists. Three top lightweight lines Phil recommends are Antler Luggage – New Size Zero, Samsonite L.I.F.T and High Sierra Elevate collections.
The second trend in luggage buying Phil sees is consumers buying higher quality / higher priced luggage that comes with a lifetime warranty. Purchasing one of the four brands that will repair or replace your luggage no matter what the cause (Briggs & Riley, Boyt Luggage, Hartmann and Victorinox) is a long term buying philosophy /savings approach many more consumers are now making. They spend more money up front but will now own the same bag for a lifetime, with a huge savings on the back-end of their purchase!
Finally, while Phil notes the huge marketing campaigns promoting spinner luggage and the rising trend of purchasing spinner luggage, he does not necessarily agree that spinners are the best option for today’s luggage consumer. While the spinners offer some benefit with greater ease of travel, he does not feel the maneuverability advantage outweighs the hassles that accompany 4 wheeled spinner’s higher rate of repair (with two additional wheels and the wheels sticking out further on the bag, the bags are damaged more easily). In Phil’s opinion you are better off with the traditional 2 wheeled pieces.
In conclusion, this is very interesting and useful information for today’s luggage consumer, thanks Phil….. but I’m still kind of curious to know which are your favorites. I guess there is always next week’s blog…..until then…… happy trails from Irv’s Luggage!!