Denim market expected to slow down in 2023
Jeans, which have been enjoying a real revival on the Fashion Week catwalks for the past few years, are expected to enter a downward phase again. Except for the very high-end segment, which represents a very small share of the market, sales have already started to slow down and the trend is expected to accelerate next year. Especially in the US, one of the main denim markets.
According to a recent study by the consulting firm Coresight Research, denim sales are expected to grow by only 6% in the United States this year, against an increase of 18.8% in 2021, and even decelerate in 2023.
Inflation, the recent overconsumption for this type of product, but also changes in clothing habits, with a preference for more casual items with the advantage of being more comfortable, such as leggings, explain this decline.
"European and American consumers have an average of four to six pairs of jeans in their wardrobes, with some differences between countries, with Italians and Americans being the most well-stocked with an average of six pairs. We note, that nearly half of consumers (and even more than half in Germany, Italy and the United States) declare themselves in possession of at least five to ten pairs of jeans."
An observation made by trade show organizer Première Vision in a study conducted in April 2022, as part of its chair with the French Fashion Institute, noted "that in light of the growing inflation linked to soaring energy and raw material prices, and the consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, global fashion consumption is not experiencing the hoped-for recovery from the health crisis of 2020 and 2021."
"The denim market has always had cycles. But today these cycles have shortened," explains Fabio Adami Dalla Val, the curator of Denim Première Vision, which was recently held in Milan. "Several manufacturers from Pakistan and Bangladesh did not participate in the show because they have a very low level of orders at the moment, especially from their American customers. Their production has dropped by 50%. It is the mass-market that is in crisis, because the stores are full and sales are falling. In addition, there are supply problems", he points out.
According to estimates by Première Vision, based on data from Euromonitor, the consumption of jeans, which had grown before the health crisis between 2016 and 2019 by barely 0.7% in the United States and declined by 4% in France and 4.8% in Italy, has experienced a strong rebound between 2020 and 2021, with increases of 27% for the United States, 14.6% for France and 10% for Italy. But this recovery was short-lived.
Coresight Research estimates that denim will hold a 4.5% share of the overall U.S. apparel market in 2023, down from a previous 5.5% share. According to the study, the denim sector should nevertheless grow in 2024 and the following years in the United States, but it should not recover its pre-pandemic market share "due to stronger growth in sales of sportswear and the athleisure category."
Another reason for the decline, according to the company, is that jeans are perceived as a utilitarian purchase rather than a fashion product, with 58.5% of respondents to the study indicating that their primary motivation for buying jeans was to change worn-out jeans.
The IFM x Première Vision study analyses different motivations. Comfort is cited as the primary purchase criterion, regardless of the country, followed by price, then quality, style, brand and the ability to be environmentally responsible. This last element is more important than the brand name for German and Italian consumers, while it comes after the importance of the brand for French, English and American consumers.
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