Smaller markets driving apparel sales

Although the largest markets for apparel sales in the United States are in New York and Los Angeles, smaller markets, such as those in Orlando and Washington, D.C., are driving growth and dollar volume for the industry, both online and offline. According to the NPD Group, these two cities performed strongly both online and in-store in 2014.

Among the top 25 U.S. market areas, online apparel sales increased in most while only a handful increased their brick-and-mortar sales.

Apparel sales increased by 2 percent over a 12-month period that ended in February, but in-store sales dropped 2 percent. While in-store sales decreased in every top 10 market, Washington, D.C., was the only city with a notable in-store sales growth of 14 percent.

"The big regions are no longer leading apparel industry sales growth," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of the NPD Group. "When New York and Los Angeles don't even make it into the top 10 list of DMAs driving apparel growth, we have a big opportunity gap in the market. We need to understand the cause in order for the apparel industry to regain traction moving forward."

Online apparel sales now account for 17 percent of the market and increased 19 percent over the course of the year. Each top U.S. market grew its online sales by double digits, yet the strongest growth was still found in smaller markets.

In-store sales outranked online apparel sales in the category for impulse buys. Thirty-two percent of in-store sales were considered impulse buys while 22 percent of online sales were considered impulse buys.

It seems Americans will be spending a little extra cash on apparel this spring. According to a recent survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers, 5 percent of consumers will spend their annual tax refund on apparel and footwear.

Looking at online sales in 2014, apparel, at 42 percent, was among the top five items purchased by shoppers in North America.

For more:
-See this NDP press release

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