General, Retail

Not One-Size-Fits-All: Some Demographics Hung Up on Clothing Subscriptions

Image Credit: Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Stitch Fix first began mailing boxes of clothes to people’s doorsteps all the way back in 2011, but it seems that the company — along with other clothing-by-mail services — still struggles to gain much traction among the American public at large.

Ninety-one percent of respondents in a recent CivicScience poll said they’re either uninterested in or unaware of these services. That compares with just 4% who said they’ve had a positive experience with them.

If you’re a “glass half full” kind of person, though, the 44% of respondents who are unaware of these services could represent a potential growth area for these companies. Generally, the “unaware” group was broken down fairly evenly between generations:

Millennials and Gen X, both of which are more likely than Baby Boomers to buy these kits (more on this below), together make up a majority of those who weren’t aware they exist.

Clothing-By-Mail Is Big Among The Highly Fashionable

People who say they follow fashion trends are some of the best customers for these services — 20% have tried clothing-by-mail, and three-quarters of those say they’re happy with it. Another 4% of these fashionable folks say they’re interested.

People who say they don’t follow fashion trends whatsoever are, unsurprisingly, extremely unlikely to use these services: 96% are either uninterested or unaware.

Income seems to be another primary factor in determining whether someone has tried out — or tried on? — a clothing subscription service. Of those who earn $100k or more per year, 11% say they’ve tried clothing-by-mail, and most of that group says it’s a good fit. Compare that with just 4% of folks who earn less than $100k per year even giving the services a try. Higher income earners are also more likely to be interested in clothing subscriptions, and more likely to be aware that they’re available.

Women, LGBTQ Folks Far More Likely to Subscribe

Women are far more likely than men to have heard of clothing subscription kits in the first place. Just less than half of all men had heard of these services (48%), compared with nearly two-thirds of women. Women were also more likely to have tried the services (8% to 4%) and more likely to be interested (5% to 2%).

An interesting note: those who do not identify as heterosexual or “straight” were more likely to have tried these services (9% to 5%) and more likely to have liked them (6% to 3%) than the “straight” group:

As far as age goes, Gen X (9%) was the group of adults most likely to have tried clothing subscription services, followed closely by Millennials (8%). However, while only one in eight Millennials didn’t like the experience, Gen X was decidedly split, about 55-45 in favor. Another 5% portion of each of these two generations is interested in trying the services on for size.

Apparently, getting clothes through the postal service is a young person’s game: only 2% of Baby Boomers have given the idea a shot, and just 2% of Boomers are interested.

As it stands, just 6% of the total US population has used these services. For now, it appears that curated mail-order clothing mostly remains a niche market for fashionable, high-income people — but opportunities for growth remain among Gen X and Millennials.

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