New Study: Women Aren’t Willing to Pay Full Price for Clothes & Shoes Anymore

Women Aren't Willing to Pay Full
Rex Shutterstock

What do women want?

Experts are still a long way away from being able to completely answer that question, but a group of researchers say they can tell us what women want to spend on clothing and shoes.

A new report from Fung Global Retail & Technology and First Insight has found that consumers are willing to pay only 76 percent of the full price for merchandise across all womenswear categories. The result, the researchers said, is industrywide price declines as brands and retailers cave to pressure to meet a more price-sensitive consumer’s demands.

Fung Global Retail & Technology and First Insight said that they partnered to source and analyze data from January 2013 through June 2016 on 57,000 women’s apparel and accessories items in 10 categories.

They found that footwear consumers have been “increasingly unwilling to pay the higher prices set by retailers and brands.” As of June 2016, consumers were willing to pay only 74 percent of retailers’ asking prices for footwear.

The researchers also found that consumers are willing to pay only 74 percent to 79 percent of manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for women’s tops and bottoms and that prices of tops have fallen 14 percent and bottoms 13 percent over time.

However, as has been the case for the much of the past three years, athleisure products are bucking that trend. The study found that women are willing to pay 82 percent of the full price for athleisure merchandise even as MSRPs rose for some products during the three-year period.

We found that there is a persistent and significant gap between the planned MSRPs tested and the prices consumers are willing to pay,” the researchers said. “Consumers are more willing to accept price growth in athleisurewear and activewear than in other categories and are unwilling to pay top dollar for footwear.”