Consumer Spending on Footwear & Apparel Is Beginning to Rise As States Start to Reopen

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease in some states and retail stores plan to reopen, a new consumer report is showing a bit of good news: week-over-week increases in U.S. apparel and footwear spending. Payments solutions firm Klarna observed a 20% rise in average daily transactions in that category for the week of April 25 – May 2.

The report looked at purchase volumes for items bought through the Klarna app by U.S. consumers; the provider counts 7 million users in the U.S., with 85 million globally. These results were compared to previous weekly figures, beginning March 15, and also against a baseline spending period of Feb. 1 – March 7, 2020, before pandemic restrictions were introduced.

In addition to the growth in daily purchase volumes for apparel and footwear, Klarna also looked at spending patterns for each demographic. The most recent data showed that both millennials and Gen Zers have increased the proportion of their spending on apparel, footwear and accessories for the third week in a row; for the week of April 25 – May 2, millennials increased by 2% and Gen Zers by 4%.

“As various states loosen their stay-at-home orders and more people begin to return to work, our data suggests that female consumers may be looking to refresh their closets with in-season ready-to-wear apparel,” said David Sykes, head of US at Klarna.

While that was consistent across younger demographics, Gen Xers continued their seven-week trend of shifting their spending towards home and garden items. Health and beauty spending, which had seen a brief increase in April, tailed off, suggesting that consumers have now stocked up on those products.

“Another interesting trend our data is revealing is that jewelry transactions are continuing to trend upward, rising by 35% week over week,” said Sykes. “That may indicate that consumers are treating themselves, or perhaps their loved ones, to little luxuries in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.”

Klarna also looked at the types of retail that consumers were spending at. Week over week, spending share on marketplaces such as Amazon, Target.com and eBay.com increased for both millennials (2%) and Gen Zers (9%), during the week ending May 2. This is in contrast to alternative retail channels such as DTC e-commerce and independent retailers.

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