"Outside front pockets are very handy for separating important items, while side pouches are great for water bottles, writing instruments and other easily accessible items," added Brownstein. "We're also seeing trends towards inside zippered pockets for keys and other valuables."
The biggest takeaway from all this? Not all bags are created equal. It's a surprisingly broad category, with bags becoming increasingly specialized based on consumer needs. A standard convention tote will work for Long Beach Comic Con attendees hoarding swag, but not for Long Beach day-trippers hauling gear. Before you sell, make sure you know the target audience. "Ask questions. Then ask more questions," said Brownstein. "Know your client's ultimate objective. Where is the bag being used? Who is using it? What's the budget? Then contact a supplier whose business and focus is bags. Chances are, they'll be able to help focus you on products that will work for the promotion, and offer unique and valuable insight into packaging, products, substrates and more."