Since its invention in the 19th century by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis, a good pair of jeans is a must-have in anyone’s wardrobe. In this era of streetwear, what type of fit should retailers focus their investments in to win the global denim market?
Skinny – the most represented fit on the jeans market
In high-street fashion, skinny & slim jeans have the biggest denim market share. We see on the graph below that skinny&slim fit account in general for almost 50% of the jeans assortment. Apart from more streetwear brands like Pull and Bear, the biggest mass-market fashion players have their highest share of their denim assortment dedicated to the skinny fit.
Skinny& slim fit has long been the best selling products for women’s denim. That fit tends to be more flattering and sexier on women’s bodies.
Also, with Retviews data, we observe that the loose fit is often placed as the second place of the denim fit. With the rise of streetwear, should we not expect the loose fit to overtake the skinny one?
Loose Fit gains more importance
When looking at the new arrivals evolution between 2019 and 2020, we see that loose fit is knowing its momentum.
Slim & skinny fit, despite being the highest share of the jeans market, knows a drop in terms of assortment. Apart from Mango, all big players observe an increase of more than 150% in the loose fit’s new arrivals.
Moreover, more than a 50% drop in 2020 compared to the new arrivals of 2019 for Zara while the other players have reduced by more than 10%. Only H&M increased its number of jeans in that fit compared to 2019. One thing is certain, loose fit is getting more and more popular. Whether it is the boyfriend-mom-girlfriend fit, the loose or even the balloon legs, comfortable and relaxed denim jeans are everywhere.
Jeans Industry Analysis – budget perspective
Slim & Skinny are the most popular among the fits from a retailer’s point of view. With Retviews data, we see that the loose fit can compete with skinny&slim jeans.
Firstly, the difference in terms of the most frequent price is not wide. Among top players, only H&M and Mango offer their loose fit at a higher most frequent price than its slim&skinny.
Then, in terms of maximum price, Slim&Skinny fit can reach higher price points compared to the loose fit. Is it an attempt from the retailers to make the loose fit more attractive?
However, looking at the entry price, the loose fit is sold at a higher price point than its skinny&slim counterpart. For little budget purchase, slim&skinny fit seems to stay the best choice.
Loose fit is less discounted but at a higher average discount
Discounting is a major discussion in the fashion industry. Despite being a must-have, jeans are among the most discounted categories. We see on the graph below that loose fit is, in general, less discounted than skinny fit. For instance, the share of discounted articles is lower by 2% for the mass-market segment. Yet, more than 40% of the market assortment is discounted.
We note that only H&M and Uniqlo are not putting more than 30% of their assortment on markdown. Nevertheless, their average discount rates for the loose fit are among the highest ones. Having those two data together, we can assume that the high discount rate would be due to the great selling of that fit, leading to few sizes left and customers not buying them anymore as they cannot find their sizes.
All in all, we observe a high discount trend on denim at Mango. The Spanish retailer put in 2020 almost 70% of its loose fit assortment on sales and 60% of its skinny fit. Both fits are discounted at more than 55% discount, which is 5% higher than the market average. This raises a question for Mango as jeans account for the highest share in the bottoms category of the brand. What could be the reasons behind such high discount levels and rates in a predominant category?
Loose fit is the big trend, but how long will it last?
With the pandemic still going on, many media have spoken about work leisure, importance, and the rise of comfortable clothing as we work from home. It is clear loose fit is the hottest trend nowadays. But like all trends, will this fad stays, or will it disappear again as it did after the 2000s? Wait and see.