With cold weather on the horizon, much of America will be digging into their closets for their outdoor winter wear. Of course, many Americans will also be digging into their wallets to buy some newer, warmer, and perhaps more fashionable outerwear.

All told, 23% of people say they most often buy their outerwear at department stores, another 18% will head to big-box stores, and another 15% fall into the “other” category. This could include second hand stores, luxury brands, boutiques, or even gifts.

For the following analysis, this top line data will be rebased to exclude the “other” category.


Breaking it down by age, 18- to 24-year-olds are into department stores at the same rate as the over-55 crowd. 

Income plays a major role, with those households making under $50K being the overwhelming favorites to buy their outerwear at big-box stores. Higher-income earners ($100K or more) shop predominantly at department stores but also shop at sporting goods stores and specialty retailers (like L.L. Bean) more than any other income bracket.

Behaviors and Preferences

Americans who say their friends and contacts on social media heavily influence their purchases are more likely than people who are not influenced by social media (or just a little bit) to buy their coats, jackets, and fleeces at sporting goods stores. Big-box stores were equally popular among those on social media. Those only slightly influenced or not at all say department stores do the trick.

But people who specifically said they are into fashion report going to department stores more than any other retail outlet.

And winter-loving consumers visit department stores for coats and jackets the least compared to those who love other seasons. Instead, they favor big-box stores and specialty brand retailers by quite a bit. 

Stay tuned for part two which takes a close look at non-department store retailers and how top outerwear brands compare.