Apparel subscription services are nothing new. In fact, CivicScience has been following the evolution of consumer interest in these services for years. But much has changed in the last two years, and as Americans have evolved from work-from-home attire to a return to the office and everything in between, CivicScience took the pulse on where sentiment lies for apparel subscription services.

As the data show, both adoption and intention fell since October 2021, while those who haven’t heard of this option increased in the same time frame. Not the most encouraging sign for the future of apparel subscription services.

Who is opting into apparel subscriptions?

As it turns out, younger adults are the most likely to be using these services less, with 18- to 24-year-olds dropping from 51% last year to 43% this year. Similarly, usage amongst 25- to 34-year-olds also dropped from 45% to 33%. Meanwhile, usage amongst 35- to 54-year-olds and those 55+ slightly increased.  

As has been the case, women continue using and intending to use apparel subscription services more than men, but usage and intention amongst women have also dropped since this time last year. 

What are consumers looking to apparel subscription services for?

Currently, activewear and loungewear/leisurewear together make up the top category amongst those using subscription services, followed by casual wear. Intenders are more interested in casual wear and business casual wear than current or previous subscribers.

When it comes to brand versus price, users and intenders of apparel subscription services place a premium on brand and style trends. 

Given the fact that subscription apparel users and intenders are favorable toward department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Macy’s, the preference for brand makes sense. However, luxury is not the highest priority. While brands such as Ugg are popular amongst subscription apparel users and intenders, brands such as Versace, Burberry, and Armani are much less favorable. This may be due in part to the fact that lower income earners – those earning $50k or less each year – are still the most likely to use or intend to use apparel subscription services this year. 

So while these services have not yet hit a dead end, these companies would be wise to note consumer preferences if they want to stay relevant in the new year. 

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