People Are Spending Less on Clothes – Here’s Why

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People have gradually been spending less and less on clothing, for reasons – apparently – detailed in the two interesting articles shared here.

Consumers Are Spending More — Just Not at Clothing Stores

American shoppers are still spending their hard-earned dollars — just not at fashion apparel and accessories stores.

According to the Commerce Department, retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% to $529.8 billion in January. However, sales at clothing stores fell 3.1% from December — marking the biggest month-over-month decline for the category since 2009.

Shifting consumer demands and increasing competition from e-commerce players continue to put pressure on major chains, specialty brands and designer clothiers — many of which have faced slower foot traffic and resorted to widespread store closures. Last month alone, four big names in the fashion industry — Macy’s, JCPenney, Express and Opening Ceremony — announced plans to close multiple doors. Macy’s alone accounted for 125 planned store closures, with JCPenney, Express and Opening Ceremony having a combined 15 stores on the chopping block. Read More

More Spending on Health Care Means Less on Clothing

In 1929, $11.67 of every $100 that American consumers spent went to clothing and footwear. Apart from a sharp increase amid the shortages of World War II, that share has been falling pretty much ever since. In the first three quarters of 2019 only 2.8% of Americans’ consumer spending went to wearable things.

This decline has been driven by two main forces: rising incomes and falling relative prices. The former dominated early on; the latter has been more important lately. Apparel prices rose through the 1980s, but at a slower rate than overall inflation. Since the early ’90s, they’ve actually fallen as a result of cheaper overseas production and the rise of lower-cost sales channels such as Walmart. From its peak in 1993, the price of women’s apparel is down 23%; men’s apparel is down 10% after topping out in 1998. Read More