NPD Group

NPD Group

May 25, 2005 08:00 ET

Canadian Boomers Drive Blue Jean Sales; The NPD Group Releases Study on the Latest Apparel Trends

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 25, 2005) - Canadian consumers are sliding into a new pair of blue jeans at record rates and it's aging boomers, not twenty-something generation y-ers, who are driving the trend. Men and women over 35 years of age purchased more than half of all jeans sold in Canada with the biggest gains, at almost 20 per cent, coming from women over 55. The NPD Group, a leading provider of business and market information, released its latest data on the Canadian apparel market today. The report offers a comprehensive analysis, as of the end of February, of where Canadians shop, what they buy and who spends what, where.

"The women's denim market is an estimated $579.7 million dollar annual business, 52 per cent of which is driven by women over 35," says Kaileen Millard, Director of Fashion, NPD Canada, a division of The NPD Group. "The biggest growth has been sales of denim to women over 55. This market has doubled in the last five years with stretch denim cuts being the most popular styles."

The NPD Group also found that men and women have different purchasing patterns when it comes to denim, with 44 per cent of men's denim purchased at mass merchandisers such as Wal-Mart and 41 per cent of women's denim purchased at specialty stores.

"The popularity of less expensive private brands found in specialty stores reflects a growing trend among women to spread their clothing budgets further," says Millard. "A consumer who spends money on one pair of premium jeans could use the same dollars to buy a selection of private label brands with a handful of matching accessories."

The most popular brand among men and women, particularly men, remains Levi Strauss. Levi Strauss has 16 per cent of the men's market and 2.5 per cent of the significantly more fragmented women's denim category.

Overall, the estimated dollar sales of the Canadian apparel market has increased 2 per cent over 2004 ($18.7 billion compared to $18.3 billion in 2004). The mass and discount store segment has shown the greatest growth at 5 per cent, with department stores coming in at 3 per cent and specialty stores at only 0.1 per cent.

When sales volumes are segmented by gender, the women's apparel market was an estimated $10.4 billion annually, to February 2005, whereas the men's market was an estimated $5.8 billion. These figures rose slightly from the year before, with the women's market at $10.2 billion and the men's market at $5.7 billion respectively.

When segmented by age or demographic, the 45- to 54-year-olds represented the biggest spenders at 28 per cent, followed closely by the 35- to 44-year-olds at 23 per cent. Canadians under 25, who are perceived to be the source of much of today's marketing and advertising dollars, are the least active shoppers at only 7 per cent. The breakdown of the remaining segments include: 25- to 34-year-olds at 13 per cent, 55- to 64-year-olds at 15 per cent and 65 plus at 14 per cent.

Traditionally, Canadians were loyal to specific stores, frequenting only one type of retail outlet for their apparel needs. The latest research shows that this loyalty has declined and people now find it acceptable to shop in all three major types of stores, including specialty stores, department stores and mass merchandisers. In fact, the percentage of shoppers who purchase clothing in all three channels has increased from 49 per cent in 2003 to 58 per cent in 2004.

Regionally, Ontario has the largest share of the Canadian retail market with an estimated dollar volume of $7.2 billion. Quebec generated $5.1 billion, with B.C. at $2.3 billion, Alberta at $1.9 billion, Manitoba/Saskatchewan at $1.1 billion and the Maritimes at $830 million. Quebec increased its volume the most since 2004, with a growth rate of 5 per cent and despite a hot economy Alberta was the only province that lost volume, falling 2 per cent year-over-year.

About NPD Canadian Apparel Tracking Service

The NPD Group's Canadian Apparel Tracking provides sales and marketing information for manufacturers, retailers and related services in the apparel industry in Canada. NPD's Apparel Tracking provides the most accurate market intelligence available, including what is selling, where, to whom and why. Today more than 100 market-leading companies in the North American industry rely on NPD Apparel data for the knowledge they need to drive better, fact-based decision making. Further information about NPD Apparel research is available at


Each month, NPD's Canadian Apparel Service sends a paper diary survey to a sample of 4,500 Canadian households, representing approximately 10,500 individuals. Regional quotas for each demographic group are established in proportion to Statistics Canada distribution quotas. To provide NPD's North American clients with a standard measure, NPD has ensured the Canadian reports are comparable with U.S. versions.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

Since 1967 The NPD Group has provided reliable and comprehensive sales and marketing information for a wide range of industries. Today more than 1,300 manufacturers and retailers rely on NPD to help them better understand their customers, product categories, distribution channels and competition.

About NPD Canada

NPD Canada, a division of The NPD Group, provides critical market intelligence on product movement and consumer behaviour in Canada. Canadian industries tracked include food and beverage, foodservice, apparel, footwear, consumer electronics, automotive, appliances and information technology.

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