Klarna Survey Finds Rare Retail Bright Spot: 52% of Gen Z Spending Now Goes to Shoes & Apparel

Faced with furloughs, layoffs and extended store closures, retailers are feeling profitability pains.

But a new study from Klarna hints at a rare bright spot for the footwear, apparel and accessories categories.

Klarna, which counts over 7 million users and 4,000 U.S. retail partners, looked at recent user data, which showed that some customers were starting to spend a bigger portion of their money “on personal comfort, and creating home environments that will allow them to weather the next several weeks mostly indoors.”

For the week-over-week period ending March 28, the footwear, apparel and accessories categories accounted for the largest increase across all Klarna-enabled purchases.

So who, exactly, is willing to spend?

The global payments platform said purchases among Gen Zers rose 18%, millennials accounted for 13% growth in the same categories, while Gen Xers inched up 4%. For Gen Zers, this resulted in over half their spending (52%) during this period going toward purchases in those categories.

“We’ve found that U.S. consumers are focusing their e-commerce shopping on clothing, shoes and accessories as they weather this difficult period,” said Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski. “For retailers and brands, the data may indicate that shoppers are choosing to buy comfortable items to work from home in, as well as workout wear that will get them through the next several weeks of exercising in their living rooms.”

The analysis looked at transactions for the weeks of March 15–21 and March 22–28. Data was compared against a base period of  February 1–March 7, 2020. Spending share also increased in the home and garden market, while leisure spending decreased and entertainment spending was mostly flat.

Klarna’s report suggested that the money consumers are saving from no longer going out is partially being redirected to the apparel and footwear markets. But there was no data about overall net spend, and many companies are still observing a reduction in overall willingness to spend; total dollars spent still may have decreased.

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