The global backpack market, as part of the broader bags and luggage sector, showed recovery in 2021, reaching a value of $137.5 billion, despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Backpacks, specifically, saw a 10.1% growth to reach $15.3 billion in 2021. The UK bag segment is anticipated to grow at a 5.92% CAGR between 2022-2026, with an expected revenue of $0.99 billion in 2022. UK backpack production exhibited volatility with £31.7 million in 2021, while the distribution landscape includes brand-owned stores, multi-brand distributors, and online-only players. Trends driving the market include a demand for multifunctional, innovative features, like wireless charging and increased online sales.

The UK trade balance in bags shows it is a net importer with a coverage rate of 39.7% in 2021. The market is segmented into categories including student, travel, and trendy backpacks, with varying brands catering to different price ranges. Demand determinants span from tourism, schooling, and sports activities; yet tourism saw a decline with only 19.1 million UK resident visits abroad in 2021, a 20% drop from 2020. The student segment remains substantial with 13.2 million individuals in the education system in 2020/2021, influencing a significant portion of backpack demand. Regulatory frameworks such as the Textile Products Regulations and UK's REACH outline labeling and compositional requirements for products entering the market, ensuring consumer safety and compliance.

Demand Dynamics in the Backpack Market

Backpacks, a staple accessory for travelers, students, and sports enthusiasts, have carved their niche in the accessories market, showing resilience and adaptability even amid the pandemic's challenges. The demand for backpacks within the market is primarily driven by three key consumer segments: travelers seeking functional bags for their adventures, students in need of practical and stylish backpacks for school, and sports enthusiasts looking for durable, activity-specific carriers. Tourism's Influence on Travel Backpacks Travel backpacks, a segment significantly affected by tourism trends, sees demand fluctuations correlating with the ebb and flow of travel activities. With UK residents making between 15 and 20 million visits abroad, reflecting a decline due to pandemic restrictions, the travel backpack market witnessed a consequently dampened demand.

Yet, the increasing popularity of local outdoor activities, such as leisure walking, with over 2 million annual searches for "walks near me," suggests a rising domestic interest in backpacks suited for short excursions and day hikes. Students: A Segmented Market Influencer Spanning from elementary to higher education, the student population in the UK numbers over 10 million. This sizable demographic represents a significant market for backpack manufacturers, with an annual back-to-school spending crossing the 1 billion GDP threshold. It's notable that parents and students prioritize different factors when selecting backpacks, with quality, durability, and trendiness jostling for top positions. Moreover, as students become more technology-savvy, the demand for backpacks with built-in tech features, such as USB ports and RFID protection, is on the rise.

Sports and Recreation: A Market Fuelled by Active Lifestyles Sports enthusiasts make up the third pillar of the backpack demand structure, adding momentum to the market with their search for specialized, durable backpacks that cater to specific sports needs. This consumer segment showcases a preference for backpacks that not only offer functionality but also integrate advanced features like hydration systems and secure gear compartments. Online Shopping: An Evolving Purchase Channel The growth of online retail has been a notable trend in the UK. The convenience of e-commerce has seen a significant portion of backpack sales move online, a shift further accelerated by the pandemic. However, with the reopening of physical stores, a slight decrease in online sales proportions has been observed, signaling a possible balance between digital and in-store shopping experiences. In conclusion, the backpack market in the UK is shaped by a diverse consumer base, driven by a blend of functional, educational, and recreational needs.

Key Players Shaping the Backpack Market Landscape

The backpack industry boasts a diverse array of players, with each company carving out its niche by catering to specific consumer needs, embracing innovative designs, and adhering to lifestyle trends. Here we outline some of the main contenders making significant strides in the market.

  • Osprey stands out as a brand specializing in high-performance backpacks designed for outdoor enthusiasts. Osprey's dedication to creating durable bags with technical features for trekking and mountain use has earned them a loyal following among adventurers.
  • Samsonite, a name synonymous with travel luggage, extends its reputation for quality to the backpack segment. Known for robust and stylish offerings, Samsonite captures a portion of the market looking for reliable travel companions.
  • North Face is a brand that combines utility and fashion, offering sporty yet trendy backpacks that appeal to both serious hikers and urban explorers. Their innovative features and enduring materials keep them at the forefront of the outdoor lifestyle market.
  • Eastpak has become a staple amongst students and everyday users seeking functional fashion. Their backpacks are known for practical designs with a modern aesthetic, merging the need for comfort with the latest trends.
  • Primark and Zara represent fast fashion brands that continuously update their backpack offerings to align with the latest style movements, providing affordable options for fashion-conscious consumers.
  • Knomo differentiates itself with a focus on urban professionals who demand both functionality and sleek design. Their backpacks often feature compartments for technological devices, marrying practicality with a clean and professional look.
  • JanSport, an ever-popular choice among students, continually evolves to include features like integrated charging stations and organizational aids, staying in tune with the digital needs of today's youth.
  • Gregory Mountain Products caters to the niche of serious mountaineers by equipping their backpacks with removable solar panels and other high-tech advancements, pushing the boundaries of what a backpack can offer in terms of utility.
  • Burberry stands at the top end of the market, with luxury backpacks that not only serve functional purposes but are also considered upscale fashion statements.
  • JD Sport, Costwold, and Sport Direct are among the multi-brand distributors, providing an extensive range of backpacks from various brands, catering to the needs of different customer segments, from casual daily use to specialized sports use.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and presentation

A backpack is a bag worn on the back that holds the weight of its contents on the shoulders with padded and adjustable straps and sometimes even on the hips with a belt. Its volume capacity is expressed in liters and varies from half a dozen liters for running bags to several dozen liters for trekking and mountain models. Different types of backpacks are included in our market analysis:

  • School, sports and hiking backpacks;
  • Daily use and urban backpacks;
  • Leather backpacks.

The backpack market is driven by several elements:

  • tourism and outdoor activities
  • schooling and employment
  • innovations and new technologies that make the offer evolve

The backpack market is part of the larger market for bags and luggage which, after having experienced a decline at the time of the pandemic, is on an upward slope. Thus, between 2020 and 2021, the backpack market grew by +10.1%.

1.2 The global market

The global market for bags and luggage

global Bag & Luggage Sales Development World, ****-****, in billions of dollars Source: ****

The global market for bags and luggage will reach $***.* billion in ****, showing that the market is starting to recover without yet catching up to pre-crisis levels.

The global backpack market

The global ...

1.3 The backpack market in the UK

The bag segment revenue is expected to reach USD *.** billion by ****. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of *.**% annually (***).

In global comparison, most of the revenue is generated in the U.S. (***).

evolution of bag sales revenues in the United Kingdom United Kingdom, ****-****, in billions of dollars Source: ...

1.4 International trade

UK trade balance in bags United Kingdom, ****-****, in billions of dollars and in % Source: UN Comtrade Code used: **** - Trunks; suit, camera, jewellery, cutlery cases; travel, tool, similar bags; Wholly or mainly covered by leather, composition leather, plastic sheeting, textile materials, vulcanised fibre, paperboard

The United Kingdom is an importer ...

2 Analysis of the demand

2.1 Demand and its determinants

Backpack consumers have various profiles

The demand for backpacks is generated mainly by * segments:

Travelers students Sports enthusiasts

Each of these segments has different preferences and habits, which are reflected in the type and style of backpack they purchase. Travelers are more likely to purchase a backpack with a larger capacity ...

2.2 British tourism

The demand for travel backpacks is strongly linked to tourism and travel data, and is highly variable depending on the time of year.

In ****, UK residents made **.* million visits abroad: a number that is **% lower than in **** - a direct result of pandemic restrictions.

Travel by UK residents abroad United Kingdom, ...

2.3 Students, another major segment of demand

Students represent a large segment of the demand for backpacks. In fact, most students prefer to use a backpack rather than a bag to bring their books to school to avoid back and shoulder injuries.

In the following graph, the number of students from elementary to high school and the number ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Forces at work

Generally, backpacks are manufactured in Asia then transported to Europe or America. Afterwards, they are transported to the wholesalers where they are stored before being dispatching to stores and end users.

3.2 Backpack production in the UK

evolution of bag sales in the United Kingdom United Kingdom, ****-****, in millions of GBP Source: ****

The UK production of backpacks amounts to GBP **.* million in ****, and is volatile in nature, as shown in the graph above.

It can be assumed that this volatility is correlated with the presence of players ...

3.3 Backpack distribution in the UK

The distribution of backpacks is managed in * main types of players:

Own brands that distribute online and physically: luxury brands through their own boutique: Burberry sports brands: North Face, fast fashion brands: Primark, Zara... brands specializing in backpacks: Osprey, Eastpak,

Multi-brand distributors: physical and online generalist players. department stores: Harrod, Selfridges... general ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Typology of the offer

Prices are directly linked to the type of product and the brand of the product. Generally, we find the following price ranges: School, sport and hiking backpacks : between ** and ** pounds for basic products, ** and ** pounds for mid-range products and between ** and *** pounds for high-end brands specialized on a particular segment; Everyday ...

4.2 Backpacks in the grip of innovation

A backpack can be equipped with a wireless charger and a built-in power bank to charge smartphone or any other wireless gadget while on the go. Smart backpacks may also have other useful options, such as built-in speakers, anti-theft zippers, a built-in LED light or even solar panels.

Jan Sport ...

4.3 A multitude of British players are positioning themselves in the urban asset niche

As the lifestyle of working people is changing: new means of transportation, new habits, new type of equipment; brands are trying to propose an offer always more adapted to their new needs, like the waterproof backpacks, protecting personal belongings,

Knomo whose positioning is bags made for urban people who need a ...

5 Regulation

5.1 World Customs Harmonized System

Textile Products (***) Regulations

Importers and manufacturers of these products must ensure that the product bears a label that clearly communicates the composition of the textile fibres contained in the product if they intend to place these products on the UK market.

Thus, the Textile Products (***) Regulations still refer to the EU ...

6 Positioning of the actors

6.1 Segmentation of actors

Student Backpacks

Travel backpacks

  • VF Corporation
  • Nike
  • Converse (Groupe Nike)
  • Lowe Alpine (Rab Equipment group)
  • Osprey Europe
  • Hedgren
  • Samsonite
  • Herschel Supply Co.
  • Columbia Sports Wear
  • Deuter (Groupe Schwan Stabilo)
  • Go Sport France

List of charts

  • Evolution of worldwide sales of bags and luggage
  • Evolution of worldwide backpack sales
  • Evolution of the market share of the backpack in the total "bags and luggage" market
  • Evolution of the revenue generated by the sale of bags in the United Kingdom
  • Sales of bags produced in the United Kingdom
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Latest news

Intersport to the rescue of Go Sport - 08/06/2023
  • Intersport takes over 72 Go Sport stores
  • 1,446 employees taken over out of 1,574
  • 50 Go Sport stores will become Intersport
  • 22 Go Sport stores to remain Go Sport
  • Target: 250 new Go Sport stores by 2030
  • Target sales: over €650 million
  • Intersport - 800 Intersport stores
  • Intersport sales in 2022: 3.3 billion euros
  • Intersport target with the arrival of Go Sport: 4.4 billion euros
  • Decathlon sales: 4.5 billion euros
In financial difficulty, Go Sport gets a new boss - 06/01/2023
  • 2,600 employees
  • Patrick Puy has been appointed head of a company management specialist in dire financial straits
  • Michel Ohayon's group, which owns the company, has applied to the commercial court for a conciliation procedure in order to be able to resell the brand
Nike: direct sales save the year for the global sports giant. - 28/06/2022
  • Nike targets double-digit growth for the coming year 2022.
  • Nike experiences a 20% drop in sales in China.
  • Nike focuses on its e-commerce site and its own stores.
  • Nike expects annual growth of around 10%.
  • Net income climbs to 5.7 billion euros.
  • Products sold directly to consumers accounted for $18.7 billion over the year.
Nike up more than 6% - 28/06/2022
  • Nike's direct-to-consumer sales account for 40% of its turnover
  • The group posted sales of $46.7 billion (approx. 44.3 billion euros) in 2021-2022, up 6% excluding currency effects
  • Profits reached $6 billion
  • Sales slowed considerably in North America and mainland China

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

VF Corporation
Converse (Groupe Nike)
Lowe Alpine (Rab Equipment group)
Osprey Europe
Herschel Supply Co.
Columbia Sports Wear
Deuter (Groupe Schwan Stabilo)
Go Sport France

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