The results are in: Levi’s, AG, Amiri, Brunello Cuccinelli and Gloria Vanderbilt are the top-selling jeans brands of 2021, according to recent data from The NPD Group.
The market information company today announced the winners of its inaugural Denim Retail Performance Awards honoring top-performing brands based on U.S. sales revenue last year, which is compiled through the company’s Retail Tracking Service.
Top brands were organized by category, including best jeans brand priced $100 and higher, awarded to AG; best women’s plus-sized jeans brand, awarded to Gloria Vanderbilt; best men’s luxury jeans brand, awarded to Amiri; best women’s luxury jeans brand, awarded to Bruno Cuccinelli; and best jeans brand overall, awarded to Levi’s.
The rankings may be unsurprising to those in the denim industry who watched Levi’s earn $5.8 billion in 2021 revenue—its highest since 1998. The recognition is just one of the brand’s recent accolades, which includes a “best-fitting jeans” award by fit technology company True Fit in 2020 and a spot on the 2021 Global RepTrak 100’s list of most reputable companies.
Premium denim brand AG’s distinction comes on the heels of its 20th anniversary celebrations in 2021, when it reflected on its penchant for unique washes and environmentally conscious design. Gloria Vanderbilt, the iconic women’s denim label established in 1976 by the late “Jean Queen” namesake and industry veteran Mohan Murjani, continues to pull in customers with unique collaborations. It recently partnered with CFDA designer Christian Siriano on a jeans collection presented at New York Fashion Week in September.
Luxury fashion brand Amiri is expanding its presence with more brick-and-mortar stores powered by Tulip, a cloud-based mobile retail solution. The brand’s parent company, OTB Group, also remains at the cutting edge of technological advancements. In December, it debuted Brave Virtual Xperience (BVX), a business unit dedicated to developing products for the metaverse, which it says will help the company generate new business opportunities and connect with younger demographics.
Brunello Cuccinelli’s success trickled into this year, with a 19.6 percent increase in revenue in Q1 2022, signaling it could maintain its top-rated reputation among U.S. consumers for years to come. In an earnings call on April 13, the company confirmed it expects a revenue bump of 12 percent and 10 percent for 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Denim in general has had significant success in the past few years, attributable to a new cycle of looser fits, as well as the casualization trend sweeping post-pandemic society. NPD reported that jeans generated $18.4 billion in U.S. sales last year, a 36 percent increase since 2020 and a 9 percent spike since 2019. All genders were affected by the pandemic-fueled shift, as jeans sales were up 12 percent for men and 9 percent for women compared to 2019.
“Jeans were among the first clothing items to rebound after 2020, as consumers sought a wardrobe refresh and craved the latest fashion trends to make their debut back into public life,” said Susan Merrill, president of fashion apparel for NPD. “Offering a variety of styles and options catering to consumers’ demands for comfortable clothing that can be dressed up or down, jeans manufacturers continue to be leaders in innovation.”
The future of jeans is looking just as bright. Data from market research firm Research and Markets indicates that the global denim jeans market is expected to reach $76.1 billion by 2026 from $57.3 billion in 2020. Regionally, the U.S. represents the biggest global consumer of denim jeans and has the world’s highest per capita jeans consumer.