The total U.S. hosiery market, which includes sheer hosiery, tights and socks, grew 3% to $7.3 billion in the 12 months ending May 2015; the age group experiencing the most growth, Millennials (ages 18-34), saw sales increase by 12% over the same time period, according to Port Washington, NY-based global information company, The NPD Group.
While tights and socks have enjoyed consistent gains in recent years, sheer hosiery had been the segment that struggled until recently. Millennials now represent 27% of the $482 million sheer hosiery market – a notable revival.
On average, consumers buy 1.4 sheer hosiery items per purchase*, with tops being the apparel item most included with these purchases*, according to data from The NPD Group’s Checkout Tracking℠, a new service that provides comprehensive information on consumer buying behavior at the market basket-level based on receipts for online as well as brick-and-mortar retail purchases.
From a demographic standpoint, Millennials are more likely to attach socks to their sheer hosiery purchase than non-Millennials*.
While Millennials tend to purchase their hosiery from mass merchants, and consumers age 35 and up are more likely to purchase from department stores*, it is the off-price and direct mail/e-commerce channels that represent the majority of the sales growth for sheer hosiery in the 12 months ending May 2015.
“Millennials are changing the game for hosiery, just as they are in categories throughout retail, but they are also playing by different rules,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Traditional thinking and marketing approaches don’t apply to this consumer segment – it’s about being different, and marketers need to follow suit, even in a category with a strong heritage.”
Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Consumer Tracking Service, 12 months ending May 2015