Apparel sales grew by three per cent last year in the US. Overall, the industry had positive performance growth in most categories. The growth of online retail was one of the most highlighted shifts of 2016. In 2011, online was only 11 per cent of total US men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel sales but in 2016 the number rose to 19 per cent.
Online’s continued growth has come at the expense of in-store sales, affecting more traditional apparel department, national chain, and specialty channels. The growth that occurred in the online, off-price, and mass channels came from a consumer focus on convenience, value and price.
Apparel consumer’s desire for a combination of comfort and style has sustained the growth of the athleisure movement. Athleisure, which is heavily driven by millennials but appeals to all age groups, continued to be a top growing apparel segment through 2016 with 11 per cent increase. Sales of tailored clothing increased five per cent and dresses retained their rank as one of the top performing categories in overall sales and growth.
Last year was also positive for jeans, which finally rebounded in 2016. The apparel industry is being pushed and pulled in different directions by consumers who are demanding something different, and looking to less traditional buying channels to find it.