Travel Study: 32,672 Luggage Prices Analyzed

For weeks, we have analyzed luggage pricing data online to help travelers make informed luggage buying decisions. The study begins by presenting the most important findings in the form of an infographic, followed by an in-depth explanation and analysis of all the numbers.

Feel free to use any graphics or content of this study as long as you refer to this page as the original source. For questions or interviews, please contact dan@testfacts.com.

Selected Findings (From the Infographic)

  • Save an average of 39% ($110) by buying luggage online.
  • 88% of all luggage is available at a discounted price online.
  • One third of all luggage is discounted more than 50% on average.
  • Best savings by brand: Kenneth Cole (63%), it luggage (62%) and Traveler’s Choice (59%).
  • Worst savings by brand: American Tourister (1%) and Briggs & Riley (1%).
  • Popular brands like Samsonite, Rockland, Delsey and Travelpro are available at 30-55% discounts on average. 
  • Luggage sets are 23.27% more discounted than single luggage pieces.
  • The more expensive the luggage is, the higher the percentage of the discount is.
  • The worse the reviews of luggage are, the higher the discount.
  • Luggage for kids is 69% ($123) cheaper than standard luggage.
  • Best savings by retailer: Walmart (53%), Century 21 (51%) and Target (50%).
  • Worst savings by retailer: Kohl’s (17%), Macy’s (18%) and Bag King (18%).
  • Greatest selection of luggage: Amazon (12,549), Jet (7,557) and Walmart (4,869).

Introduction to This Study

Our study is conducted to help travelers see how much money they can save by purchasing luggage online. We focus on these areas:

  • Which types of luggage is most affordable to buy online?
  • Which brands can you get the best deals on when you buy online?
  • Which online stores offer the best discounts?

More people than ever travel; U.S. airlines, for example, carried a record number of passengers last year. “Most people know that they can save money on travel by searching for cheap flights or hotels online, but many people still overspend by buying their luggage in brick and mortar stores.” says Dan Bennett, the founder of Test Facts. He says: “With this study, we want to create transparency in the luggage market, to help travelers make informed decisions.”

The study is based on the following data:

  • 32,672 luggage prices collected on September 2nd to 10th, 2017
  • 454 luggage pieces and sets
  • 34 brands
  • 30 U.S. online retailers

Want to Save on Luggage? Buy Online

Luggage brands work hard to discourage retailers from discounting their luggage. A “race to the bottom” in terms of price competition lowers the perceived value of a brand, and lowers retailer margins so much that retailers no longer want to push the brand’s luggage to consumers. This is a brand’s worst nightmare.

By using cartel-like price structures and contracts, brands force brick and mortar stores to keep the manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP). If a retailer does not obey, the dictating brand can shut down the partnership. Fortunately to consumers, prices on the internet are harder to control.

Brick and Mortar vs. Online Stores

When collecting prices on 454 luggage, we found the average MSRP to be $284.83. By collecting prices for the same luggage at 30 U.S. online retailers, we found the average price to be $174.61. This means that you save 38.70% ($110.22) on average when you buy luggage online.

Percentages of Discounted Prices

One might expect to find a few luggage to be discounted online, but in fact our study shows that 87.64% of all luggage is on average discounted online compared to MSRP. Only 12.36% of all luggage did not have an average discounted price online.

Furthermore, the distribution shows that 52.55% of all luggage is discounted 30-79%. One third of all luggage is discounted more than 50%.

Which Brands Have the Most Discounted Prices?

The Highest Priced Brands

When luggage is bought at MSRP, Tumi ($600.00) and Victorinox ($555.00) are the most expensive luggage brands on average. American Tourister ($75.37) is the cheapest luggage brand in terms of MSRP.

Largest Savings by Brand

After online discounts, Tumi ($572.36) is still the most expensive brand, but followed by Briggs & Riley ($463.40) as the second most expensive brand. Wally Bags ($68.28) is the cheapest brand.

The average discount percentage is highest with Kenneth Cole (63.22%), it luggage (62.48%) and Traveler’s Choice (58.61%), while American Tourister (0.74%) and Briggs & Riley (1.06%) are the least discounted luggage brands. Popular brands like Samsonite, Rockland, Delsey and Travelpro are available at 30-55% discounts on average.

In terms of actual savings in dollar amounts, Nautica ($304.48) is number one on average, followed by Kenneth Cole ($241.28) and Victorinox ($236.81).

What Type of Brand is Most Discounted?

The luggage brands have been categorized as:

    1. Luggage-focused brands (Samsonite, Travelpro, Rockland, American Tourister, Traveler’s Choice, SwissGear, Briggs & Riley, Delsey, Wally Bags, Tumi, High Sierra, Eagle Creek, Bric’s, Hartman, Heys, Olympia, OGIO, Hedgren, American Flyer, Kipling, Lipault, Athalon, Travelon, Skyway, Ricardo Beverly Hills, U.S. Traveler and it luggage).
    2. General brands that do not focus on luggage primarily (Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland, Kenneth Cole, Vera Bradley, Victorinox, Nautica and Calvin Klein).

It is clear that general brands offer more savings online than luggage-focused brands. General brands are sold at 48.48% lower prices online on average, compared to 35.27% for luggage-focused brands.

What Type of Luggage is Most Affordable Online?

Carry-On vs. Checked Luggage

Despite carry-on luggage being smaller in size, the average price on carry-on luggage is 3.96% ($6.36) higher than checked luggage. The average savings on carry-on luggage is 31.15% ($72.66) and on checked luggage it is 36.98% ($90.49).

Hardside vs. Softside Luggage

Softside luggage is on average 3.11% ($5.47) more expensive than hardside luggage. The savings to be made on hardside luggage is as much as 46.54% ($148.53), compared to 35.40% ($96.46) on softside luggage.

Luggage for Kids vs. Standard Luggage

As expected, luggage for kids is much cheaper than standard luggage, with a 68.83% ($123.18) lower price on average. However, with luggage for kids, you only save 27.45% ($21.10) online compared to MSRP, while with standard luggage you save 38.80% ($113.48).

Luggage Sets

Luggage sets ($239.64) are, as expected, more expensive than single luggage pieces ($156.94). Savings on luggage sets are much higher than on single luggage pieces, being 45.82% ($202.69) on luggage sets and 35.16% ($85.10) on single luggage pieces. This equals a 23.27% higher discount on luggage sets.

Garment Bags

The average garment bag costs $144.13, compared to $176.77 for other luggage. Savings are only 26.69% ($52.48) as opposed to 39.27% ($114.31) on other luggage.

Luggage Size (Height)

Luggage size is marketed to customers based on height primarily, and it is also what we compare. All garment bags have been excluded from this comparison; their height otherwise results in misleading conclusions.

While luggage in the 0 to 19-inch height range clearly have the lowest average price online ($79.62), there is no clear pattern in price based on height in the ranges over 20 inches. One might expect the price to increase with larger luggage, but this is not the case. This aligns well with the findings in the “Carry-On vs. Checked Luggage” section, which shows that carry-on luggage is not cheaper despite being smaller in size. Most U.S. Airlines require carry-on luggage to be 22 inches or lower, and most of the carry-on luggage can be found in the 20 to 22-inch range.

Part of the explanation for the lower average price in the 0 to 19-inch range, is that 93% of all luggage for kids included in this study is in that height range. As shown in the “Luggage for Kids vs. Standard Luggage” section, luggage for kids is much cheaper.

Price Ranges

Luggage in the lowest MSRP range ($30-49) is the least discounted by only 4.33% on average, while luggage in the highest MSRP range ($800+) is the most discounted by 70.37% on average.

Linear regression analysis also illustrates that the discount in percentage terms will increase with the increase in MSRP. The discount will on average increase with 6 percentage points for every extra $100 in the MSRP. The r2 for the linear regression is 0.74505.

A reason behind the clearly higher discount on more expensive luggage (70.37% discount in the $800+ MSRP range is a lot!) could be that manufacturers of expensive luggage include higher margins in the MSRP because they want to focus on less price-sensitive customers at more exclusive stores, rather than to sell low-priced luggage at scale. However, due to the competition online, online retailers that offer discounts pressure these margins heavily. Manufacturers that offer cheap luggage have, on the other hand, already pressured the margins in their MSRP, because their strategy is to compete based on low price and to sell at scale.

What this means is that buyers who want to buy luggage in the higher price ranges, should always check the prices online. Buyers of cheap luggage on the other hand, can in many cases buy luggage in brick and mortar stores at MSRP without missing large discounts online.

Luggage Reviews

By looking at more than 23,000 user reviews of luggage, we can see that disliked luggage is more discounted than well-liked luggage.

The scale is 1 to 5 in intervals of 0.1, with 5 being the best. Looking at ratings from 3.5 to 5 (average ratings under 3.5 are uncommon), we see that for every 0.5 worse user rating, the luggage will be 5.61 percentage points more discounted. The r2 is 0.48311.

Lower rated products tend to be harder to sell, especially online as many online retailers have users reviews visible on their product listings. For this reason, stocks of disliked luggage are left unsold, and retailers must reduce the prices for them to sell. This explains why we see the pattern that lower rated products have higher discounts.

Which Online Stores Have the Most Discounted Prices?

It is great that large savings can be made online, but where are these savings found? We have analyzed 30 U.S. online stores to compare their prices and discounts.

Retailer Prices by MSRP

QVC ($413.54) sells the most expensive luggage in terms of average MSRP, followed by Century 21 ($344.96). The on average cheapest luggage by MSRP is sold by Target ($208.93) and Bon-Ton ($222.10).

Retailers with the Largest Discounts

The largest savings are found at Walmart of 53.15% on average, followed by Century 21 (50.58%) and Target (50.21%). The least discounted prices are found at Kohl’s (17.42%), Macy’s (17.55%) and Bag King (18.22%).

Percentages of Luggage at Discount

Walmart discounts 90.65% of their luggage prices compared to MSRP, which is more than any other retailer. Amazon (90.53%) and Century 21 (90.00%) follow closely. Bag King on the other hand, only discounts 46.15% of their luggage prices.

The Greatest Selection of Luggage

The by far largest selection of luggage can be found at Amazon with 12,549 luggage, followed by Jet (7,557) and Walmart (4,869).

Types of Retailers

We have categorized retailers as:

  1. Luggage-focused retailers (eBags, Luggage Pros, Luggage Factory, Mori Luggage & Gifts, Bag King).
  2. General retailers that do not focus on luggage primarily (Amazon, Jet, Walmart, Overstock, Belk, Kohl’s, Pricefalls, Bed Bath & Beyond, Zappos, Boscov’s, JCPenney, Sears, Shoes.com, Groupon, Bon-Ton, Target, Macy’s, Stage, Century 21, Staples, Bealls Florida, Best Buy, BeachCamera.com, BuyDig.com, QVC).

It is clear that luggage-focused retailers offer better discounts, on average 43.45%. General retailers on the other hand, offer 33.02% in savings on average.

Additional Notes

Omitted Values

To get valid results and conclusions, we found it necessary to omit certain data in the following cases:

  • Backpacks, handbags and other types of bags that are not classified as luggage by retailers have not been included in this study. Data on garment bags have been included in all results, except for when comparing luggage height with price as explained in the “Luggage Size (Height)” section.
  • In the retailer selection process, retailers carrying less than 5 luggage brands, or less than 80 models of luggage, were omitted.
  • Brands that are only sold at 1 online retailer have been omitted from this study.
  • We have excluded 4 luggage for which we were unable to locate any MSRP. 7 luggage were sold at retailers but had no current price at any retailer due to being out of stock, these luggage have also been omitted.

Delimitations

  • 30 of the largest U.S. retailers that sell luggage online have been included in this study, though obviously more than 30 retailers sell luggage online. We are however confident that we have included the retailers with the majority of luggage sales online.
  • We assume that luggage is sold at MSRP in brick and mortar stores. Exceptions to this rule do exist. Some online retailers also have physical stores for example, but many do not match their online prices in these brick and mortar stores. Walmart, the brand we found to have the largest discounts online compared to MSRP, writes the following: ”The merchandise and prices available on our website do not reflect the merchandise and prices available in our stores.” 
  • Our conclusions do not account for causation vs. correlation. For example, we conclude that luggage for kids are cheaper than standard luggage on average. While this is true, it may not be based on the fact that the luggage is made specifically for kids, but rather that the luggage is smaller in size and thereby uses less material which lowers the cost.

Researchers Behind the Study

A number of the team members at Test Facts have helped to conduct the massive price study. The work was lead by Dan Bennett, the founder of Test Facts. Statistician Marc Kirby was responsible for all data collection (in Excel) and data analysis (using SAS).

Feel free to use any graphics or content of this study as long as you refer to this page as the original source. For questions or interviews, please contact dan@testfacts.com. The full infographic can be downloaded here, and all graphics in this study can be found in this zip file.

  • AkronOhioMoms.com

    After reading this, I’ll never purchase luggage in stores again! Wow!