In a recent CivicScience survey, U.S. adults were asked how much they were in need of new clothes at this time. Half of the respondents indicated they were in need of new clothes to some extent, but 11% of respondents were desperate.
When asked about the incentive to buy new clothes specifically for the summer season, the primary driver was the desire for a simple wardrobe refresh. Buying summer clothes for a specific trip or vacation was the next most popular reason, followed by “just for fun” and “to get new sizes.”
Recent CivicScience data show travel plans are up, as is spending tax returns on trips and retail, so it’s not surprise that vacation clothing buying–and major wardrobe updates–are a priority for many.
Among those who plan to buy new summer clothes, the majority say they will spend anywhere from under $100 up to $200.
People who say they are buying new summer clothes for a wedding or special occasion are the most likely to say they will spend $200 or more. Those who selected “vacation or trip” aren’t too far behind.
Overall, women are more likely than men to say they are buying summer clothes this year but there is a slightly higher correlation between men and spending $300 or more than between women and spending $300 or more.
Spending on summer clothing is likely to occur both online and in stores at near-equal amounts, although an even split between online and in stores, as well as a slight lean toward online, seems to be the most popular shopping strategy.
Since March of 2020, interest in purchasing clothing subscription boxes online has shifted. CivicScience data reveal happy users increased by one percentage point in two years while people who tried but didn’t like their experience increased two percentage points. Clothing subscription kits don’t seem to be any more appealing to the general population than they were in years past.
Thirteen percent of consumers say they shop for clothes out of season. These dedicated out-of-season shoppers – those who might be buying up sweaters, pants, and other cold weather apparel right now – are the most likely to envision spending $300 or more on summer clothing, when compared to those who sometimes shop out of season or who never do. Annual income had little bearing on whether or not a person was an out-of-season shopper, so it’s unlikely that out-of-season shoppers just have more money to spend than other shoppers.
Among major retailers like Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, and Amazon, it looks like summer clothing shopping is highest among Target- and Amazon-favorable consumers. Amazon fans nearly beat out Target fans in terms of the percentage who will purchase summer clothing for one of the reasons listed below. But, Amazon falls behind Target when consumers are dressing for outdoor sports and activities.
Ultimately, the data on summer clothing shopping intent propose a similar retail season as past years. This year, trips and vacations are incentivizing people to spend on apparel, likely a long-term effect of the previously shuttered tourism industry. Inflation concerns have some bearing on summer clothing budgets, but really only among people who are “somewhat concerned” about inflation.