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Modest Decline Forecasted for Fourth Quarter Apparel Sales, Reports NPD

Sweatshirts, outerwear and dresses expected to be bright spots in the fourth quarter, spurred by replacement needs and a return to in-person events.

License Global

October 24, 2022

2 Min Read
NPD logo.
NPD logo.NPD

Amid consumers’ financial concerns and economic uncertainties heading into the holiday season, fourth-quarter apparel industry sales are expected to decline in the U.S. With average prices forecasted to rise 2%, dollar sales are projected to fall by 1%, according to The NPD Group

“As brands and retailers kicked off holiday promotions before Halloween costumes were purchased, we can expect an elongated holiday selling season for the apparel industry,” says Maria Rugolo, apparel industry analyst, NPD. “In the face of rising prices, the fourth quarter will be a balancing act as shoppers prioritize the areas where they will trade down, pull back or invest, causing them to be more prudent in their apparel spending.” 

The most recent “Future of Apparel” report from NPD found that consumers increasingly plan to buy apparel tailored to a specific need. Sales of sweatshirts, outerwear and dresses are expected to grow in the fourth quarter, versus last year.  

“Wardrobe needs, stemming from replacement or replenishment purchases and a return to social gatherings, will prompt consumers to invest in certain aspects of their wardrobe this holiday season,” says Rugolo.  

Along with being more selective in their purchases, many consumers are invoking cost-saving measures. Last quarter, 41% of consumers reported that they had to forgo buying apparel to purchase products in another category – an increase of 5 points since the beginning of the year. Consumers also said lower prices were the most important factor for their future apparel purchase decisions. Exploring alternative buying options, nearly 45% of consumers bought apparel on a resale platform in the third quarter, rising 2 points since the first quarter. 

Related:NPD Finds Retail Changes Coming Slowly

The NPD Group says the decline in sales will result from consumers trying to stretch their budgets. As recession looms in the U.S. and worldwide, additional categories are expected to be impacted as well. 

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