Study: Millennials help boost casual fashion sales


Port Washington, N.Y. – The affinity of Millennial consumers for casual and activewear has resulted in a small boost in apparel, footwear and accessories sales. U.S. consumers spent $323 billion on apparel, footwear, and accessories in 2014, according to The NPD Group.

The 1% increase compared to 2013, resulting in an additional $2 billion in sales, was driven primarily by growth in sales of activewear, athletic performance footwear, and bags.

“The status quo won’t work anymore, as the fashion industry has undergone one of the most dramatic makeovers in recent history – no doubt influenced by the Millennial consumer,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “There is an underlying sense of rebellion that comes through in today’s fashion, but self-expression and creativity also enter the picture, and history has shown that trends driven by such emotion are ones that evolve quickly.

Overall, U.S. fashion industries performed well in 2014, each experiencing some growth, though apparel sales remained basically flat compared to 2013. Women were the wearer segment that drove apparel sales, in footwear the focus was on children, and in accessories it was men.

Activewear was the clear driver across all consumer segments in apparel, especially among women where dollar sales increased 8% compared to 2013. In line with the athleisure and casualization movement, sales also grew among sports bras, polo/golf/rugby tops, sports jerseys, and leggings.

The footwear industry aligned with the apparel industry as athletic footwear, and more specifically performance styles, drove growth for men, women, and children in 2014. However, it was children’s athletic footwear that accounted for the largest dollar volume increase across the entire footwear industry, with a 9% increase in sales compared to 2013.

The gains across all accessories categories in 2014 were a reflection of growth in sales of products worn by men, especially bags with a 35% increase in dollar sales, and jewelry with a 24% increase.