Dump it out! exploring gendered consumption experience in handbag

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Handbags have become a key accessory in the world of fashion. Market research showed that accessories have proved to be much more popular than clothing among today's consumers in terms of the sales growth rate around the globe. With references to a market research done by MINTEL, the handbag sector in UK has reached an impressive growth of 104% over the five years and accounted for ₤1 billion of sales performance.

Handbags can be seen not only as a necessity item but also a luxury item that tells people something about our social status and fashion taste. We carry lots of things in our handbag everyday. From a semiotic perspective, the possessions we have in our handbag communicate something about ourselves.

Some of these possessions relate to our everyday consumption choices, preferences, and even tastes (e.g. a bottle of lemon juice and a receipt). Others may connect to the intimate and emotional side of a person, like memories, beliefs, and values (e.g. a family photograph, a letter from an ex-boyfriend, and an amulet). After all, a handbag can be regarded as a symbolic carrier storing things with rich, private and social meanings. Thus, we propose that a handbag could be a “site” to understand consumers’ experiences and how they interpret the meanings in their everyday consumption. By sorting out all the things in the handbag, each single item can become a cue for dialogue in the interview: The informants can begin talking about themselves and also how they understand the world they are living in. In addition, researchers can also examine the items inside the handbag for the study of brand choices and usage, and how consumers infer brand meanings in their everyday life.

Source Publication

2012 Korean Scholars of Marketing Science (KSMS) Fall International Conference, 2012 Dec 1, Seoul, South Korea

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