The Tried-and-True Matters, But Innovation is Essential to Denim’s Bottom Line, Reports NPD

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The $13.5 billion U.S. women’s and men’s jeans market has rebounded from recent challenging times, growing sales 4 percent in 2016*, according to leading global information company The NPD Group. The latest styles and older standards (or models) both play an important role, and the respective roles of the two groups showcase how differently women and men shop for jeans.

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“Denim manufacturers and retailers are realizing the importance of striking a balance between giving consumers the features they know and love, and introducing them to some new elements they didn’t know they needed,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD.

The $13.5 billion U.S. women’s and men’s jeans market has rebounded from recent challenging times, growing sales 4 percent in 2016*, according to leading global information company The NPD Group. The latest styles and older standards (or models) both play an important role, and the respective roles of the two groups showcase how differently women and men shop for jeans.

“Jeans are representative of retail as a whole – newness and innovation drives growth while the basics maintain volume,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.

Women’s jeans brought to market within the past two years make up almost 70 percent of the units sold in 2016 and nearly all of the dollar gains for the year. Older product offerings launched in 2013 or earlier retained 19 percent of the units sold but were responsible for more than a third of the dollar losses for the year.

In contrast to the women’s market, the majority of the men’s jeans sold in 2016 were older products. These products, launched in 2013 or earlier, accounted for the majority of the dollar sales losses for the year. This was likely a factor behind the slower growth rate experienced in comparison to the women’s market. Items introduced in 2016 were a much smaller portion of the men’s market but generated almost three-quarters of the dollars gained in the same year.

“Denim manufacturers and retailers are realizing the importance of striking a balance between giving consumers the features they know and love, and introducing them to some new elements they didn’t know they needed,” added Cohen. “How many more of the same style jeans do women need? Why should men, who are less likely to gravitate to new and different product, change for the sake of change? The denim market needs to find ways to break consumers of comfortable shopping habits with new product offerings that are worthy of both the change and the spend, ultimately driving the market forward into its rightful place of strength.”

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service
*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Consumer Tracking Service
**Based on new product SKUs entering the NPD data set, as reported by participating retailers

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Janine Marshall
The NPD Group
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