What Kinds of Blue Jeans Are Women Buying?


Indigo Rein jean

Blue jeans never fade away, but they come and go in popularity. In recent years, blue jeans have faced increasing competition from activewear and athleisure pants that have more stretch and are extremely comfortable as well as versatile.

But the return of the blue jean in the United States is being seen by the space these cotton-denim pants are occupying in women’s closets.

For the 12 months ended February 2019, women bought 364 million pairs of jeans, which amounts to 22 million more pairs than the previous year. More than half of those jeans bought during that 12-month period were purchased on sale, according to The NPD Group, a market-research company based in Port Washington, N.Y.

Off-price jeans now make up 17 percent of blue-jeans sales and are driving the majority of growth in women’s jeans. “The recent growth in women’s jeans is good news for the industry. Women want to wear more than just leggings and yoga pants,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry adviser, The NPD Group. “But the emphasis on quantity and discounting means marketers need to find new ways to inspire the women’s-jeans consumer and deliver product that compels them to take their purchase to the next level.”

In-store sales still account for an overwhelming number of blue-jean purchases— some 80 percent in the last year. But these purchases are on the decline with online sales driving growth in the market. There was a 32 percent increase in online sales of women’s jeans over the 12-month period compared to the previous year.

Women shopping online tend to purchase more and purchase more frequently. The average online annual spend per buyer on women’s jeans was 4 percent higher than last year, and women purchased women’s jeans through online sites twice a year on average.

“The denim consumer has changed,” Cohen said. “Manufacturers and retailers are now faced with the challenge of strengthening the consumer’s passion for jeans to ensure they are more than a commodity in their eyes.”