Apparel industry, Millennials

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

13 August 2019

Millennials changing the apparel industry in fascinating ways

Wanna find how much the world has changed by looking into an unlikely place? How about the changing attitudes within the apparel industry? Yeah, clothes.

We all understand technology is changing our lives by the minute. I don’t need to dwell too far into that subject.

Although. Consider this. Retail sales of clothing fell 24% in May, the worst month the apparel industry has seen since the recession. In fact, just about every segment of the market is seeing a fall in numbers.

Apparel industryWhat gives? Well, for one, the only categories in the apparel industry doing well are sweats, swimwear and sleepwear. Okay. So what does that mean?

It means those are the only items consumers are replacing. No, they aren’t buying suits or dresses. Why? Analysts are reporting that, as the business world becomes more casual, fewer consumers need separate wardrobes.

In other words, there just isn’t the need for fashion anymore. The Millennials, who prefer to spend on technology over apparel anyway, are taking over.

“But, as the apparel industry is learning, it’s also forcing many changes to the way we shop, and what we buy. It’s just not the same anymore, and all brands should take note.”

More than the apparel industry is changing

I became aware of how Millennials are changing things a few years ago. Researching Millennials as a CEO of a company, I found they are certainly more casually focused. In attitude, in terms of work hours. And, yes, in terms of how they affect the apparel industry.

If you want to recruit the best young talent, you have to change. That’s hard for me as I come from the suit and tie Mad Men generation (well, I’m not that old) that believes the best-dressed person in the room is the most respected.

I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore, especially when you consider the apparel industry as it stands now. Recently, I saw a CEO of a client head off to another meeting wearing…a backpack. Years ago, there would be gasps that he’s lost his touch. Today, not so much, if at all.

We’ve conducted research with Millennials. And, it’s true. They are a little different than previous generations because they are the first ones to grow up in the era of the smart phone.

As a group, they are extremely loyal and without bias. They are the “whatever” generation accustomed to things coming to them, rather than seeking them out on their own.

That’s not necessarily a criticism. There’s a certain wisdom in that. But, as the apparel industry is learning, it’s also forcing many changes to the way we shop, and what we buy. It’s just not the same anymore, and all brands should take note.

See more posts in the following related categories: Apparel millennials

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