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Women's Clothing - US - May 2015

"The women's clothing market will be supported by a growing female population and a strengthening economy in spite of continuing obesity rates. Consumers’ continued emphasis on savings, convenience, and selection are key factors that influence where, why, and how they shop. Women 18-34 are the most engaged in the category, concerned with being in style, and welcome to ideas and inspiration from others."
- Diana Smith, Senior Research Analyst – Retail & Apparel

This report discusses the following key issues:

  • Women’s clothing market sees growth
  • Industry is very fragmented impacting where and how women shop 
  • Poorly stocked, overpriced merchandise and inconsistent sizes cause frustration
  • Casualization is driving the market
The purpose of this report is to identify behaviors and preferences among female shoppers when shopping for clothing.

While the report primarily focuses on women, some discussion of purchases by men is included. Clothing in this report covers the following categories: jeans, pants/slacks, T-shirts, blouses, sweaters, dresses, skirts, jackets/coats, blazers, shorts, workout clothes (tops and bottoms).

The women’s clothing industry is a growing market. Consumers are increasingly looking for comfortable and casual clothing choices, as well as deals and savings, good merchandise selections, and convenient ways to shop. Opportunities lie with men for gifting and women 18-34 for self-gifting; and elevated roles for online and social media channels. Obesity, however, will continue to be a threat if it deters women from buying clothing. Increased channel competition will also place pressure on retailers to maintain or grow market share. Retailers should be employing omnichannel marketing strategies to seamlessly integrate their brands online and offline, and should focus on improving customer service. Further, with so much customer data now available, retailers have ample opportunity to shift from targeting the same message to the masses to a more customized and personalized approach that considers the various needs and motivations of different target segments.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Women’s clothing market sees growth
            • Figure 1: Total US retail sales and forecast of women’s clothing, at current prices, 2009-19
          • Industry is very fragmented impacting where and how women shop
            • Figure 2: Retailers shopped for women’s clothing, January 2015
          • Poorly stocked, overpriced merchandise and inconsistent sizes cause frustration
            • Figure 3: Frustrations encountered when shopping for clothes, January 2015
          • Casualization is driving the market
            • Figure 4: Women’s clothing purchases, January 2015
          • The opportunities
            • Narrow in on women 18-34
              • Figure 5: Shopping behaviors and attitudes toward personal style, January 2015
            • Make it personal: Gifting and self-gifting represents opportunity
              • Figure 6: Reasons for buying clothes, January 2015
            • Play up comfort and casual themes
              • Figure 7: Attitudes toward personal style, January 2015
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Women’s clothing market sees growth
                • Growing female population and stabilizing economy will support this future growth
                  • Obesity remains a threat
                  • Market Size and Forecast

                    • Women’s clothing market slated for moderate growth
                      • Figure 8: Total US retail sales and forecast of women’s clothing, at current prices, 2009-19
                      • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of women’s clothing, at current prices, 2009-19
                  • Market Breakdown

                    • Tops account for about half of women’s clothing sales
                      • Figure 10: Total US retail sales and forecast of women’s clothing, by segment, at current prices, 2009-19
                  • Market Factors

                    • US female population growth will benefit women’s apparel industry
                      • Figure 11: Women by race and Hispanic origin, 2009-19
                    • Consumers are cautiously beginning to spend again
                      • Over one third of women are obese
                        • Figure 12: Percentage of women aged 20 or older who are obese, by age, 2001-04 to 2009-12
                      • Online and mobile devices provide more shopping options for busy women
                        • Social networks offer another source of inspiration
                          • Desire for casualization influences merchandise selections
                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                            • Price, convenience, service, and selection still matter
                              • Increasing price competition pressures smaller retailers
                                • As the apparel industry evolves, omnichannel leaders and value players will continue to fare well
                                • What’s Working?

                                  • Stores offering the right combination of value, convenience, service, and selection are winning
                                    • Affordable pricing and customer service
                                      • Innovative marketing
                                        • Unique merchandise selections
                                        • What’s Struggling?

                                          • Retailers struggling with brand identity, inability to be nimble, and price competition continue to face challenges
                                            • Contending factors
                                              • Store closings
                                              • What’s Next?

                                                • Value players and omnichannel leaders will continue to thrive
                                                  • Online shopping will rise
                                                    • Value players will fare well
                                                      • Omnichannel approaches are mandatory for success
                                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                        • Women enjoy the shopping process
                                                          • Gifting and self-gifting: A rich area for marketing aimed at women and men
                                                            • Highly fragmented marketplace
                                                              • Whether alone or with others, clothes shopping is a personal experience
                                                              • Women’s Clothing Purchases

                                                                • Women enjoy the shopping process
                                                                  • Figure 13: Shopping behaviors, by age, January 2015
                                                                • Wide range of items purchased
                                                                  • Figure 14: Women’s clothing purchases, January 2015
                                                                • Women 35-54 spend the most on clothing
                                                                  • Figure 15: Amount spent on women’s apparel, November 2013-December 2014
                                                                • Spending expectations: In their words
                                                                  • Tips and tricks on saving: In their words
                                                                  • Role of Men

                                                                    • Men are big spenders too
                                                                      • Figure 16: Amount spent on women’s apparel, by men, November 2013- December 2014
                                                                      • Figure 17: Women’s clothing purchases, by men, November 2013-December 2014
                                                                  • Retailers Shopped for Women’s Clothing

                                                                    • With many choices, shopping in this category is fragmented
                                                                      • Figure 18: Retailers shopped for women’s clothing, January 2015
                                                                    • Women are loyal to a few favorite stores
                                                                      • Figure 19: Shopping behaviors, January 2015
                                                                    • Their last shopping experience: In their words
                                                                      • Shopping can be a personal experience for one, or a social experience for many
                                                                        • In their words
                                                                          • Shopping is for me
                                                                            • Shopping is more fun with others
                                                                            • Reasons for Buying Clothes

                                                                                • Self-gifting: An untapped opportunity for retailers
                                                                                  • Figure 20: Reasons for buying clothes, January 2015
                                                                                • Nearly three in 10 sales occur on impulse
                                                                                  • Figure 21: Reasons for buying clothes, January 2015
                                                                                • Qualitative insight: Occasion can influence shopping process
                                                                                • Frustrations Encountered when Shopping for Clothes

                                                                                  • Inconsistent sizing is biggest source of frustration
                                                                                    • Figure 22: Frustrations encountered when shopping for clothes, January 2015
                                                                                  • Qualitative insight: Would you pay more for delivery services and in-store pickup?
                                                                                  • Attitudes toward Personal Style

                                                                                    • Comfort more important than style
                                                                                      • Figure 23: Attitudes toward personal style, January 2015
                                                                                    • In their words
                                                                                    • Clothes Shopping Influencers

                                                                                      • Younger women eagerly seek advice on how to be trendy
                                                                                        • Figure 24: Attitudes toward personal style, January 2015
                                                                                      • Young women are also influencers; social media can be conduit between brands and consumers
                                                                                        • Figure 25: Clothes shopping influencers, any rank, January 2015
                                                                                      • In their words
                                                                                      • Opinions on Deals and Loyalty Programs

                                                                                        • Qualitative insight: What constitutes a good deal?
                                                                                          • At least 50% off
                                                                                            • Less than 50% off
                                                                                              • Qualitative insight: What do consumers look for from loyalty programs?
                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                                  • Sales data
                                                                                                    • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                        • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                              • Terms
                                                                                                              • Appendix – Market

                                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Total US retail sales and forecast of women’s clothing, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2009-19
                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Female population aged 18 or older, by age, 2009-19
                                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Real Disposable Personal Income: Percentage change from preceding periods
                                                                                                              • Appendix – Consumer

                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Amount spent on women’s apparel, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2013-December 2014
                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Amount spent on women’s apparel, by household income, November 2013-December 2014
                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Amount spent on women’s apparel, by men, November 2013-December 2014
                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Amount spent on women’s apparel, by men, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2013-December 2014
                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Amount spent on women’s apparel, by men, by household income, November 2013-December 2014

                                                                                                              Women's Clothing - US - May 2015

                                                                                                              US $3,995.00 (Excl.Tax)