Bag to the Future
Computers are taking over the world. The influence is evident as laptops and tablets invade the most paper-friendly products, like briefcases. The word "briefcase" literally means a case for briefs, i.e., paper files. But now they need to hold laptops, smartphones, MP3 players, headphones, e-readers and any other electronics you can imagine. Having space for electronics is particularly important when traveling for work. Promotional business and travel bag suppliers are catching on and amending their designs as needed.
Business bags meet athletic bags
Grethe Castberg Adams, president of Southern Plus, Hartwell, Ga., noted that the popularity of tech accessories has not only required an influx of tablet pockets and earbud holes, but a complete rethinking of the formality of business bags. "Aside from the features to accommodate our electronics, we're seeing more interest in casual styles rather than the traditional briefcase," she said. "This includes backpack styles as well as saddle bags with athletic styling and materials. We're talking ballistic nylon, rubber hardware and reflective details."
… Meet tablet cases
Brenda Cameron, marketing manager for Atlanta-based Justin Case, mentioned that business bags are also becoming more like the electronics they are holding. "The biggest change in style we've seen for 2013 has been a shift from the usual large bulky business bags for everyday use to slimmer, more streamlined cases and sleeves for laptops and tablets," she said.
Black is the new black
Adams mentioned that business bags are more subdued in color than a tote bag or purse. "The color palette preferred for these type of bags tends to be more conservative than other types of bags," she said. Cameron agreed. "Black continues to be the most popular color option," she said. "In addition to black, gray is a popular choice," Adams noted. If your client wants a conservative bag that still stands out in a sea of black briefcases, try a mix of neutral hues. "We actually offer a couple styles in a combination of these colors to add more interest and style to the bag," Adams said.
Targeting laptop users
If you're looking to expand your business bag reach, you may not need to look for constant business travelers. You just need workers that use laptops daily, which is most of the workforce. Adams listed the top three markets for business and travel bags as insurance, I.T. and financial. Cameron added real estate, consulting, legal, banking and education as strong business bag markets.
Bundling bags with gadgets
Since you're already looking for bags with portable electronic accessories for end-users who use laptops, why not add something electronic to the program? "I think [a business or travel bag promotion] would be a great opportunity to bundle with an electronics accessory, like a phone/electronics charger for example," Cameron said. "People who travel a lot for business don't always have time or a way to recharge their devices. A portable charger can be a lifesaver on the road, and would be a perfect product to bundle with a business bag," she explained.