For the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about the decrease in popularity of the American uniform – the jeans. Can it really happen? An America without jeans? Too dramatic. Maybe just a lot fewer denim-clad men and women. Compared to 2013, Wwomen’s jeans sales fell 8% in 2014 and men’s jeans sales dropped 5%. This change is attributed to the increasing popularity of “athleisure” and yoga pants, especially for women. Earlier this year, Gap decided to shift focus from jeans to their Athleta line to make hay while the sun shines. Interestingly enough though, amidst all this speculation, Target reported that their second quarter earnings were bolstered primarily by their denim sales.
When you have access to the world’s largest product database, and a curious fact, what do you do? You dig in to see if you can spot the interesting trends. Since “athleisure” is more targeted at women, I looked at the women’s jeans first. Target sells more than 250 jeans (not including size variants) comprised of their in-house and other brands. The average price of women’s jeans at Target is $26.29, whereas that of men’s jeans is $27.28. That’s a really affordable price point.
Looking at the competitive landscape for women’s jeans, I saw that when it comes to similar products, be it skinny jeans or flare, mid rise or high rise, Target products are priced lower by anywhere between 6% and 110% compared to stores like ASOS, AliExpress, H&M, bebe, and Nordstrom Rack. The price differential is obviously much higher when it comes to fancier retailers like Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom. But those retailers are not direct competitors with Target anyway.
The article mentioned in the beginning says that Target has been making concentrated efforts to improve their denim line, working on fit, finishes and fabrics. And it looks like the work is paying off, while still keeping the price point low enough. The average price of Levi’s women’s jeans across 39 stores is $42.83, whereas the average price of Wrangler men’s jeans (a more popular brand with men) across 25 stores is $30.89. Women’s jeans at Target include brands like Levi’s and Lee in addition to their exclusive brands like Mossimo, Merona and Xhilaration.
The data shows that Target seems to be on point for now when it comes to both price and assortment. The denim’s still got some wind in its sails. And I guess America’s love affair with jeans isn’t over after all.