US Children’s Clothing Market Report 2021
“The pandemic created some challenges and changes in the children’s clothing industry. Parents are reconsidering how many clothes kids need, indicating the importance for alternate options, such as trade-in programs.

US Children’s Clothing Market Report 2021

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)

Report Summary

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the U.S Children’s Clothing market including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

The pandemic has caused parents to reconsider where they shop for children’s clothing and what they buy. Parents’ preferences are influencing what their children wear, but kids themselves play a crucial role in shopping, indicating the need to appeal to both parents and kids.

Changed lifestyles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to create growth challenges for the category, especially as some parents re-evaluate how many clothes their children need; when they do shop, many will do so online. There are opportunities to drive new purchases by offering trade-in options, expanding premium casual wear for kids, and exploring “mini-me” outfits for parents and kids to coordinate.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer behavior and the children’s clothing market.
  • How a down economy is causing cautious parents to rethink how many clothes children need.
  • The change in online shopping behavior and perceptions.
  • Children’s involvement in the shopping process.

Covered in this report

Principle types of clothing covered: Sleepwear, underwear, daywear and outerwear.

Ages included: Infant (<1 year), toddler/preschool (1-5 years), young boys and girls/preteen (6-11 years).

Brands featured: Target, Amazon, Gap Kids, Free To Be Kids, Stitch Fix Kids and many more.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Alexis DeSalva, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The pandemic created some challenges and changes in the children’s clothing industry. Parents are reconsidering how many clothes kids need, indicating the importance for alternate options, such as trade-in programs. And when they do shop, more parents are doing so online, not just for convenience but for safety. At the same time, some things remain unchanged – such as the crucial role children play in purchases. Consequently, it’s important to offer kids a chance to express themselves through customizable designs and fun, interactive ways to shop.

Alexis DeSalva
Retail & Apparel Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • COVID-19: Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US sales and forecast of children’s clothing, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Impact of COVID-19 on children’s clothing
      • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on children’s clothing, February 2021
    • Opportunities and Challenges
    • Appeal to parents with “less is more” attitude using trade-in options
    • Give parents and kids the chance to coordinate outfits
    • Offer kid-friendly designs and experiences to engage both parents and children
    • Include gender-neutral clothing to allow parents and kids to dress how they choose
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • The pandemic created additional challenges for the market
    • Parents’ shopping behavior and mindset are evolving
  4. Market Size and Forecast

    • Changed lifestyles challenges growth
      • Figure 3: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of children’s clothing, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 4: Total US sales and forecast of children’s clothing, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Macroeconomic data
      • Figure 5: Average spending by households with children on children’s clothing, 2015-20
    • Impact of COVID-19 on children’s clothing
      • Figure 6: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on children’s clothing, February 2021
    • Lockdown
    • Re-emergence
    • Recovery
    • COVID-19: US context
    • Learnings from the last recession
  5. Market Factors

    • Millennial versus Gen X parents
    • Characteristics of Gen X parents
    • Characteristics of Millennial parents
      • Figure 7: Birth rates, by age of mother, 2010-17
    • Declining birth rate poses challenge for market growth, but signals opportunities for more new purchases
      • Figure 8: Annual births and general fertility rate, 2007-17
    • Households are diversifying
      • Figure 9: Number of households, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2013-23
    • Recession-era parents will adopt value-seeking behavior
    • Digitally savvy parents will embrace tech-enhanced shopping
  6. Market Opportunities

    • Use circular retail options to appeal to parents with a “less is more” attitude
    • Involve children in product developments and designs
    • Develop coordinated assortments for adults and children
      • Figure 10: Zappos mommy + me look, May 2020
    • Offer gender-neutral clothing to appeal to evolving preferences
      • Figure 11: Free To Be Kids, gender-neutral clothing example, March 2020
    • Use social commerce to inspire parents and drive commerce
      • Figure 12: H&M shoppable content, December 2020
  7. Competitive Strategies

    • Subscription services and personalized options make frequent purchases easier
      • Figure 13: Rockets of Awesome “Rockets Reverse” program, October 2020
    • Brands put the spotlight on dads
      • Figure 14: Dove #HairLove Tweet, March 2020
  8. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Children’s clothing purchases mirror adults’ purchases
    • Parents shop where they can save time and money
    • Children play a crucial role in purchase decisions
    • COVID-19 has caused parents to re-think their approach to shopping
  9. Consumer Trends Impacting Children’s Clothing

    • Value
    • Identity
    • Surroundings
    • Experiences
  10. Items Purchased

    • Children’s purchases mirror adults’ clothing purchases
      • Figure 15: Items purchased (NET), November 2020
      • Figure 16: H&M Kids mini-me outfits, December 2020
    • Some parents show interest in blurring the gender lines
      • Figure 17: Select items purchased – Purchased for a boy, by parent, November 2020
    • Moms are the primary shoppers, but don’t forget about Dads
      • Figure 18: Target “Thank you, Dads” post, June 2020
    • Multicultural parents prioritize the essentials
      • Figure 19: Items purchased (NET), by race and Hispanic origin, November 2020
  11. Retailers Shopped

    • Mass retailers have become children’s wear destinations
      • Figure 20: Retailers shopped (NET), November 2020
    • The gap is closing between online and offline shopping
      • Figure 21: Retailers Shopped, in-store vs online, November 2020
    • Younger generations are interested in alternative purchase options
      • Figure 22: Retailers shopped (NET), by generation, November 2020
      • Figure 23: Stitch Fix Kids, January 2021
  12. Preferences for Buying

    • Children’s involvement comes with age
      • Figure 24: Preferences for buying, by age of children, November 2020
    • Parents look for efficiency in different ways
      • Figure 25: Preferences for buying, by parent, November 2020
    • Younger generations express stronger brand preferences
      • Figure 26: Preferences for buying, by generation, November 2020
    • Black parents prefer to use their purchase power to support specific brands
      • Figure 27: Preferences for buying, by race, November 2020
      • Figure 28: Free To Be Kids MLK/NAACP post, January 2021
      • Figure 29: GapKids Black History Month, February 2021
  13. Purchase Influencers

    • Children hold the most influence
      • Figure 30: Purchase influencers (NET any rank), by gender and age of child, November 2020
    • Older parents turn to expertise of schools
      • Figure 31: Purchase influencers (NET – any rank), by generation, November 2020
    • Social media can supplement the influence of store displays
      • Figure 32: Gap Kids Shoppable content, February 2021
      • Figure 33: Purchase influencers (NET – any rank), November 2020
  14. Attitudes toward Shopping for Children’s Clothing

    • Parents have mixed associations regarding where and how to shop for kids
      • Figure 34: Attitudes toward Shopping, November 2020
    • Dads seek quality, while moms are savvy shoppers
      • Figure 35: Attitudes toward shopping, by gender, November 2020
  15. Changes because of COVID-19

    • Convenience and safety are driving parents to shop online
      • Figure 36: Changes because of COVID-19, November 2020
      • Figure 37: Amazon holiday wish book, December 2020
    • Kids are dressing more casually, just like their parents
      • Figure 38: Changes because of COVID-19, by gender and age of children, November 2020
      • Figure 39: Old Navy matching styles, September 2020
    • “Less is more” mentality may impact consumers from an earlier age
      • Figure 40: Changes because of COVID-19, by select demographics, November 2020
  16. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our databooks* are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

Click to show report
2024 Sample Consumer Cover

Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Our reports are available to download in PDF and PPT formats.

Trusted by companies. Big and small.

Want to speak to us directly?

Contact us with your enquiry and our expert global team can help.

Get in touch