Coronavirus BRIEFING

Pandemic is Increasing Demand for Leisurewear Among Younger Consumers

One of the most dramatic changes to daily life brought about by the pandemic is the shift to working from home that millions of Americans have experienced. As many of us have shifted to home offices, we’ve also changed our attire, with casual, comfortable clothing now becoming the norm for working from home. Not surprisingly, there has been an uptick in sales of casual clothing in recent months. In fact, 20 percent of U.S. adults said they purchased clothing that is considered loungewear or leisurewear since the pandemic began, according to a June 2020 survey from CivicScience.

In a recent post on contributor Rimma Kats parsed the CivicScience data and found that another 15 percent of respondents said they hadn't made such purchases but planned to do so in the near future—while a majority (65 percent) said they had no interest. When looking at younger consumers, however, figures for adoption and interest skewed higher, she noted.

“Nearly 30 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds said they purchased leisurewear amid the pandemic, and 20 percent said they planned to purchase but hadn't yet. The figures were similar for 25- to 54-year-olds,” said Kats. “Conversely, those 55 and older proved less likely to join the bandwagon. Just 12 percent said they purchased leisurewear since the pandemic hit; 11 percent were planning to buy, and 78 percent said they weren't interested. The oldest cohort lead the other groups in its rejection of leisurewear by an average of 22 percent.”

Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence and author of e-Marketer’s new report, “U.S. Ecommerce by Category 2020,” told Kats, “The winners in this category are few and far between, with leisure among the few segments of apparel retail for which demand may be increasing. Try as they might, not every apparel retailer can pull off the ‘pivot to sweatpants. But certain direct-to-consumer brands that traffic in comfortwear, like Mack Weldon and Bombas, have bucked the overall trend."