CivicScience posed that question in a survey of 6,780 U.S. adults, finding that most people (80%) are only willing to spend up to $50 on a pair of jeans. The most popular price tag is $30 or less:
There’s nothing too idiosyncratic about jeans-buying when it comes to demographics. The survey shows that the higher your income, the more willing you are to pay a higher price for jeans. Women are slightly more likely than men to spend more on a pair of jeans.
Age-wise, 18- to 24-year-olds are the most willing to spend over $200, although only accounting for 5%. On the other hand, 88% of those over 55 say they would spend no more than $50 on jeans.
However, trends get more interesting when it comes to how people shop for jeans.
Fast Fashion, Fast Denim
It’s highly debatable where jeans sit among fashion trends today. Some say jeans are passé and have been replaced by leggings and all flavors of other pant options. Others claim denim is still going strong and has in fact made a comeback in the past two years.
CivicScience data show jeans aren’t dead – 75% of Americans say they like or love wearing jeans, while just 10% say they do not. Even so, most Americans don’t seem to place too high of a value on jeans these days, and it shows up in shopping habits. Big-box retailers (such as Walmart and Target) which sell fast fashion apparel are the most popular option for in-store jeans shopping. Department stores and “other” places (such as second-hand stores or boutiques) come in second.
Only a small percentage of people shop for denim at brand-specific stores (think Gap, Lucky Brand, American Eagle). However, the survey also shows that these brand-specific store shoppers are by and far the most willing to spend up to $100 on a pair of jeans (41%). At the same time, 20% of department store shoppers are the most willing to drop over $200 for the perfect pair.
A more accurate reading gauging online buying patterns shows that just 18% of people usually shop for jeans online, while two-thirds tend to shop in-store. Women are more likely to shop online for jeans than men (20% vs. 15%) and less likely to shop in-store.
Levi-Strauss is Still Classic
Trends come and go, but there are a few jeans brands that seem to be standing the test of time. One of those is Levi-Strauss, whose iconic 501’s can retail near $100. Despite the price tag, it turns out that Levi’s still resonate well with Americans; half of respondents say they either like or love the brand, while just 10% are unfavorable.
Men are 20% more favorable to Levi’s than women. At the same time, Levi’s are far more popular among adults age 35 and over – a little over 50% are favorable to the brand, compared to just 39% of 25- to 34-year-olds.
Of course, favorability doesn’t always equate to shopping habits. A total of 80% of people favorable to Levi’s would only spend up to $50 on a pair of jeans. Although, a quick Google search shows that it is possible to get a pair of Levi’s for $50 or less, especially if you’re willing to shop online or shop used (and that trend is growing).
Ultimately, when it comes to the current state of jeans-buying today, the people have spoken – most of us still want jeans, but we don’t want to spend more than a trip to the grocery store on them. And maybe that’s because what Americans primarily want out of their next pair of jeans is simply comfort.