The denim industry may have begun singing the blues prematurely. The NPD Group reported that overall dollar sales of jeans declined five percent in the months ending May 2015. However, sales increased two percent among Millennials, with older Millennial consumers (ages 25-34) driving 13 percent of dollar sales increases.
In total, Millennials accounted for 28 percent of jeans sales during this time period, followed by Generation Z (age 17 and under) with 24 percent, reconfirming denim’s status as a youth culture symbol.
“Denim is facing a real opportunity to build on past and present success with subtle strategic changes,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “While the industry is not yet in a state of recovery, brands are focusing their energy on the younger customer base, where jeans sales are growing.”
While consumers’ love for for denim remains strong, fit continues to be a struggle. A recent NPD survey revealed that 63 percent of consumers stated they love their jeans, but just 32 percent purchased a pair for themselves in the past five months. Meanwhile, the same survey found that one out every four consumers said they can’t find jeans they like or that fit well anymore.
Cohen said, “There are missed opportunities across the denim retail landscape, from the limited distribution of classic styles, fuller cuts, and peripheral specialty sizes, to the absence of color that is living large in so many other industries.” He added, “Providing a broader mix of product that appeals to a broader audience, with variety stocked in stores, will help to bridge the gap between what consumers are buying, what they want to buy, and rejuvenation of the denim market.”