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Retailers Should Be Excited about Denim Again, New Report Says

Are the odds of survival in an athleisure world finally turning in denim’s favor?

Recent data from retail analytics firm Edited shows denim is on the upswing—enough for it to declare that “denim is back in business.”

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While the denim market dipped during peak athleisure years 2015 and 2016, Edited said retailers are starting to rebuild their denim assortments. So far this quarter, there’s 42 percent more denim product in stock than this time last year.

In terms of growth, leggings continue to outpace denim, though, as Edited pointed out, the denim market is double the size of the leggings category.

Price (on) point

As part of its return, denim has come back as a pricier item.

Price points have increased considerably since 2014, Edited noted, creating a more competitive denim market. The average price point for men’s jeans in the U.S. is up 20 percent to $210.86 this quarter, and prices for women’s denim have increased 10 percent to $165.44.

Skinny but strong

Marketers love a new silhouette to gab about, but skinny jeans are core to retailers’ lineups—they still represent 58 percent of women’s jeans, Edited said.

However, data shows that other silhouettes like cropped, culotte, mom and wide styles have all gained since 2016. Straight leg jeans are second to skinny in women’s, followed by cropped and ripped.

Popular for summer

Interest in denim hasn’t waned this summer. Wide legs jeans and flare silhouettes are among Edited’ best-selling styles for summer 2018.

Wide leg jeans that hit just above the ankle have been an area of focus for brands like Madewell and Everlane. Finished hems, frayed hems, and black and white denim have performed well.

Flared jeans are also gaining momentum with consumers. Edited said flared shaping on skinny styles will be the most versatile, but high-waist wider cuts “bring a refreshing hit of newness.”

Others to watch

Apart from jeans, Edited said denim outerwear, dresses, shirts, shorts and skirts—also known as ‘other’ denim—has grown 12 percent in the last month.

Data shows that denim outerwear has increased 101 percent in the last two years. And it’s just not the basic blue Trucker jacket that’s piquing consumers’ interest. The category lends itself well to bold pops of color and prints like checkerboard, leopard and snake.

Edited reported that the jean jacket will be a key back-to-school item, updated with cropped or oversized silhouettes, zipper closures and cozy borg collars.

There’s also room for denim skirts, shirts and dresses to grow into Spring ’19. Edited said longer and baggier silhouettes from the ’90s will offer retailers new opportunities.

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