Women in the U.S. are making more room in their closets for jeans. A total of 364 million pairs of women's jeans were purchased in the U.S. in the 12 months ending February 2019, more than half of which were bought on sale, according to a study by American market research company The NPD Group. The nearly 22 million unit increase compared to the prior year was the primary source of growth for the jeans category overall.

"The recent growth in women's jeans is good news for the industry – women want to wear more than just leggings and yoga pants," says Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor, The NPD Group. "But, the emphasis on quantity and discounting means marketers need to find new ways to inspire the women's jeans consumer, and deliver product that compels them to take their purchase to the next level."


Off-price booms
Women's jeans are becoming increasingly planned purchases as well as the primary reason for shopping, and the off-price and specialty store channels have realized the most activity. Off-price unit and dollar sales are both up almost 30 percent in the 12 months ending February 2019 – now representing 17 percent of unit sales and driving the majority of women's jeans growth. The specialty store channel, which includes retailers like American Eagle, H&M, and TopShop, accounts for over a third of women's jeans annual sales and experienced unit growth of 6 percent compared to the previous 12 months.

Jeans by American Eagle
Photo: American Eagle
Jeans by American Eagle

Online sales increases
In-store sales still account for an overwhelming majority of women's jeans sold – 80 percent in the last year – but these purchases are on the decline. Online sales are driving growth in the market, with a 32 percent increase in the number of women's jeans being purchased through e-commerce channels the past 12 months.
NPD's Checkout E-commerce information reveals that online women's jeans buyers are also spending more and purchasing more frequently. The average online annual spend per buyer on women's jeans was 4 percent higher than last year, and they purchase women's jeans online twice a year on average.


"The denim consumer has changed," says Cohen. "Manufacturers and retailers are now faced with the challenge of strengthening the consumer's passion for jeans to ensure they are more than a commodity in their eyes."


READ ALSO:
Discover how Zara steps into customizable denim

Brands

Discover how Zara steps into customizable denim

Read more →
Six denim labels to keep an eye on-i-and-me-3

Labels to Watch

Six denim labels you need to know

Read more →
Key looks from the NY women's trade shows: Woman

Trade Shows

Key looks from the NY women's trade shows: Woman

Read more →
book1

Book review

Why details count in jeans

Read more →

top 15 list

These fashion brands are coolest for young consumers

Read more →