With 2021 Apparel Sales Expected to Surpass Pre-Pandemic Levels, It's Baby Boomers Leading the Charge
As apparel sales have begun to recover this year, it makes sense that retailers are focusing their marketing efforts on Millennial and Gen Z buyers. But it might come as a surprise that it’s actually Baby Boomers leading the charge in recovery.
According to a report from Retail Dive, clothing spending by consumers ages 57 to 75 in the first half of the year was up 28% over 2019. That’s more than double the increase for Gen Z and five times the increase for Millennials. Additionally, the NPD Group recently noted in a report that apparel sales for 2021 are expected to surpass 2019 levels, with Boomers leading the way. A generation known for its loyal buying habits, Boomers seem to be driving apparel demand because they have more disposable income than younger generations.
One thing that may not be as surprising is the focus on comfort. During the height of the pandemic, there was little need for business and formal attire, and as apparel demand continues to rise, sportswear, sleepwear and athleisure are at the top of the list of popular styles. About 70% of women, for example, told NPD Group their pajama-wearing isn’t limited to sleep.
The U.S. #apparel industry is on track to exceed pre-pandemic levels this year, bringing in $13.3 million more revenue in the first eight months of 2021 compared to the same period two years ago, according to our Consumer Tracking Service. https://t.co/rG0Qm8MmrK
— The NPD Group (@npdgroup) September 29, 2021
On the flip side, as consumers return to the office and re-engage in social events, many have also found their clothing to be worn out and behind on the latest fashions, which is also leading to increased spending in other categories such as dresses, workwear, and basics such as socks and underwear. Levi Strauss & Co. also noted that many consumers’ sizes changed over the past year and half, further spurring recent spending. And while women and men of all age levels are helping push this drive, it’s still Boomers who are spending the most across the board.
“Brands and retailers love to focus on Millennials and Gen Z vying for their share of wallet, but Boomers should not be overlooked,” Kristen Classi-Zummo, director of market insights for NPD, said in a report. “Fashion is something that defined this generation, representing their beliefs, ideas, hopes and dreams. Maybe this is part of the reason why Boomers … hold tightly to their fashionable roots and, amidst a challenging time in our history, maintain a steadfast focus on fashion.”