DL1961 Spring 2013 mens
Premium denim is finally rebuilding its presence within the market. Once seen as a niche market with prestige pricing, the category has transformed to meet the needs of a post-recession marketplace. Prior to the economic downturn in 2008, premium denim was seen as one of the fastest growing sectors of the apparel market, with customers willing to pay for product that exuded quality, craftsmanship, and exclusivity. As disposable income of middle class consumers dipped, so did premium denim sales.
Fast-forward to 2012, and NPD consumer research group reported that the fastest growing segment of the denim market is premium ($75 at retail plus) with estimated market values of $1.4 billion. That is an increase of 17.3 percent. The total units sold also great 16.4 percent to 13.5 million pairs, versus the overall denim market which remained flat.
"The key price is under $200 now," indicated Eric Jennings, VP and men's fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue. Many denim brands are finding that pricing has become a crucial factor in sales, True Religion's average retail was $225 in 2007, and is now sitting at $175. Many premium brands have also seen margin and business contribution growth through their direct-to-consumer channels - e.commerce, their own retail stores, etc.
Although the recession was tough on many premium brands - many saw new financing partners, and True Religion just secured a buy-out by TowerBrook - they seem to be rebounding quickly. Pre-2008, exclusivity and celebrity were the driving forces in the contemporary space. Now, quality and style are driving forces in consumer spending, and premium denim is leading the way.