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The NPD Group notes shifts in apparel purchase behaviour

Jun '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
US apparel sales in April last week were 35 per cent lower than the same week in 2019, but that is half of what it was at the lowest point during the pandemic, according to The NPD Group, which recently noted shifts in apparel purchase behaviour across categories and wearer segments since the pandemic started, pointing to key changes in consumer buying phases.

“Apparel was a low priority early in the COVID-19 crisis when consumers were focused on things like groceries and other in-home necessities, but we’re seeing evidence that apparel is once again entering the spending consideration set,” said Maria Rugolo, apparel industry analyst at the company.

“Warmer weather is spanning much of the country, allowing consumers to extend their mostly homebound routines to the outdoors, and expanding their apparel needs beyond comfort and above-the-keyboard dressing,” she said in a press release from the company.

Summer seasonal apparel categories, shorts and swimwear, recently captured nearly one-fifth of total apparel spending, which is more spending share for this category than the same time last year.

In the first week of March, sales of these categories were proportional to the same week in 2019. By week ending May 2, while summer seasonal apparel sales were still down compared to last year, declines softened significantly and their dollar share of the overall market was 5 points higher than the same week in 2019.

In addition to recent growth in summer seasonal categories, steadily rising sales of many basic apparel categories, like underwear and sleepwear, are offsetting the steep dollar sales declines in tailored clothing since the pandemic surfaced in the United States.

As a result, basic apparel is also capturing a larger portion of the challenged apparel market, 25 per cent of sales in the last week of April compared to 17 per cent last year.

The demographics of apparel consumers have also demonstrated a shift in shopping motivation. As a whole, clothing for kids has consistently seen the softest double-digit dollar declines of all wearer segments, resulting in the youth segment capturing a higher share of total apparel dollar sales since the start of the pandemic.

Following weeks of year-over-year declines, dollar sales of kids’ apparel in the last week of April reached year-ago levels. Women’s apparel also began to see a softening in spending declines during the second half of April.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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June 2021

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