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Women are Buying Jeans Again; Sales are Up for the First Time in Years

Athleisure may have taken a bite out of denim, but it hasn’t killed it, and women are opening up their wallets again and spending on jeans.

A new study by the NPD Group highlights denim’s turnaround in the market, driven by women who are purchasing more jeans than in the last several years.

For the 12 months ending in June 2016, U.S. sales of men’s and women’s jeans grew 2 percent to nearly $13 billion. In terms of women’s jeans, which represent about 60 percent of the market, sales grew 4 percent. NPD reports nearly 304 million pairs of women’s jeans were sold in the last year.

Despite this, average consumer spending has remained flat, and so key to maintaining momentum toward significant dollar growth will be the industry’s ability to introduce more inventory upfront, while also pushing for innovation.

No longer content with skinnies, women are looking for new silhouettes and comfort innovations, reported NPD Group Cheif Industry Analyst Marshal Cohen.

“Fit and comfort are the big new driving factors for denim growth,” he told Rivet. “No more is it about low rise only. Most women have their share of those. New silhouettes will be important and those silhouettes need be higher rise and more comfortable.”

Still, women’s budgets are tight, and so one consequence of women spending more on jeans is that they will cut spending elsewhere. Cohen said a bump in denim purchases has a “direct” effect on sales of activewear bottoms.

“As denim recovers active will feel the strain, as women need [only] so many bottoms and have a budget to manage as well,” he said.