CONSUMERS PUSH JEANS PRICE LIMIT
Byline: Ira P. Schneiderman
NEW YORK — American women are definitely upgrading their jeans purchases.
But there’s a limit to just how high they are willing to go. For now, that limit seems to be $50.
According to Fairchild’s Strategic Information Services/NPD, jeans priced from $25 to $49.99 posted the largest gain of all price segments in 1997. The segment jumped more than 17 percent to total $1.5 billion, which represents more than 39 percent of the $3.9 billion market.
As recently as two years ago, this price range had only about 30 percent of the market with slightly less than $1 billion in sales. In dollar terms, the key price point in the women’s jeans market remains about $25. Last year, about 58 percent of the business was done under this threshold.
But the data reveals that in the past three years, the share purchased at this price has been decreasing, from 67 percent in 1995 to 60 percent in 1996 to 58 percent last year. The most volatile sector of the women’s jeans market has been the $50-and- over market.
Although many high-end manufacturers reported double-digit growth last year and predict similar increases in 1998, statistics suggest the over-$50 category suffered a setback last year.
In 1995, that price point represented 2.5 percent of the total. In 1996, purchases jumped and the more expensive jeans captured 4.3 percent of all women’s jeans sales. Last year, however, the market share of the highest priced jeans dropped to 2.5 percent of the total, according to NPD data.
Individual price segments reflected the ups and downs of the past two years. Women’s jeans from $50 to $74.99 accounted for $71 million in sales in 1995, jumped to $141 million in 1996 and slipped to $94 million last year. Jeans from $75 to $99.99 also followed this pattern, accounting for $7.4 million in 1995, $11 million in 1996 and $5 million in 1997.
Overall purchases of women’s jeans in 1997 totaled $3.9 billion, a 7.5 percent increase over 1996.