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NPD Points to Opportunities for Men’s Stretch Jeans and Higher Price Points

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Denim brands only need to make a few adjustments to their businesses to see a greater return, according to data from consumer research company NPD Group.

In a presentation at Kingpins24 last week, NPD shared insight on denim sales from January 2019 through January 2020, and pointed to several opportunities for brands to generate more revenue at a time that many need it more than ever.

Men’s denim brands, for one, may be able to experiment with bigger price points. According to NPD research, women purchased jeans an average of 2.3 times per year, while men purchased jeans just 1.5 times per year. And while their purchases were less frequent, men typically spent more money on their jeans: 5 percent of men’s jeans were sold in the $50-$75 range, compared to just 3 percent of women’s jeans at that price point.

Still, the price will need to reflect the value of the garment.

“Clothing that offers benefits is winning with consumers today,” said NPD’s industry analyst Maria Rugolo. “Innovation will be key to drive consumers to warrant spending as shoppers are being even more cautious and purposeful with their dollars.”

Denim brands may also want to consider incorporating more stretch into men’s jeans—especially as men’s skinny jeans continue to grow in popularity. NPD’s data shows sales of men’s stretch denim grew 40 percent over the past year, and represented 20 percent of the men’s denim sold. Further, with comfort quickly becoming a top priority as a result of coronavirus lockdown orders, stretch could be even more important to the population as they spend most of their days at home.

Women, on the other hand, have embraced stretch denim for years. Data shows that as much as 88 percent of women’s jeans sold included a stretch component. Now, women are turning their attention toward additional features like moisture wicking, slimming and lift. The number of jeans sold with these features doubled in the past year, NPD said.

What’s important to note, however, is that the data reflects the state of denim spending pre-COVID-19. Now, as Rugolo explained, there is uncertainty regarding market recovery indicators, price sensitivity and consumer priority shifts—all of which could impact the way consumers purchase denim.

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