According to The NPD Group, total U.S. apparel sales reached $181 billion in 2005, a 4 percent increase over 2004.Strong sales in t-shirts, jeans, tailored clothing and pajamas helped fuel the growth.
Men's apparel led the industry's growth with an increase of five percent, reaching nearly $53 billion in 2005. Sales in women's apparel also grew, reaching $101 billion; a three percent increase from 2004. Children's apparel sales grew two percent, to $27 billion.
"The surge in men's apparel sales came from some of the most unexpected places, such as young men buying a suit. Teens and young adult men have finally 'discovered the suit.' When exploring that further, NPD found that young men never owned a suit, never wore a suit and never saw their father in a suit - yet, they have migrated towards dressing up to be 'cool.'" Said NPD chief industry analyst, Marshal Cohen. Combined sales of suits, suit separates and sportscoats/jackets grew 53 percent among men ages 18-24.
Women spent $2.6 billion on hats and scarves, driving an 11 percent increase in the category. It was also a strong year for women's intimate apparel, the $9.6 billion industry expanded by nearly 4 percent in 2005.
In 2005, women's jeans were $7.6 billion, up nearly 10 percent in sales. Women's premium jeans (jeans priced over $100) accounted for 18 percent of denim sales in U.S. department stores, up from 12 percent in 2004."Last year was a clear indication of where the consumer is heading for 2006. Today's consumer enjoys splurging on higher-end products now and then, but their quest for value still remains," said Cohen.