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In Focus: A Deeper Look at the Kids Apparel and Footwear Markets

Sep 15, 2016
Tamara Szames, Analyst (Canada) ;
Fashion Accessories , Footwear

It is natural that every generation evolves. For decades, parents have continued to tell their children how life was so different when they were growing up.  However, what seems to be different this time is the role of the child and the use of buzz words like “technology”.  In the past 10-15 years children have grown up with technology at their fingertips and have had the ability to access anything at any time.

So how does this affect the #1 category moms spend their money on?

The NPD Group’s Kids Share of Time and Wallet study  captures a focused perspective on how children 14 years of age and younger spend their leisure time and the impact that this has on mom’s overall spend.

The study reveals that apparel and accessories capture 27 per cent of moms weekly spend, 36 per cent if you include footwear (9 per cent). That’s 0.36 cents out of every dollar. So why has the Canadian Children’s apparel market continued to face challenges? Children’s apparel and footwear consumers are generally spending more and buying less. With consumers buying less, the fight for dollar share becomes a tougher battle.  So how do you win that fight?

Give kids what they want! Twenty-nine per cent of moms who said they spent more on apparel and accessories this year said it was at the request of their child. According to a recent NPD Group study, moms estimate that their children get 50 per cent of what they ask for. Furthermore, 70 per cent of moms purchasing decisions are based on her child’s influence. To win wallet share we must focus on the child.

So what do kids ask for? Knowing that the main influencers in a child’s life are friends, it is important that brands and retailers participate in the interaction of their daily activities to be relevant and part of the conversation. 

By understanding how children spend their time we can identify the apparel and footwear trends that cohesively live in their lives. Apparel and footwear should enhance the child’s everyday actions and be a positive part of their daily interaction.

Three quarters of kids watch TV and movies at home; over half of kids watch TV, movies or videos on a mobile device on a weekly basis. Today’s child can now have access to their favorite characters at any time or place, adding to the importance of character licensed apparel and accessories. This is especially evident in the boys’ apparel market as licensed characters and sports have posted double digit growth (based on 12ME April 2016) compared to a year ago.

Girls on the other hand have posted a slight decline in apparel licensed characters and sports (12ME April 2016). With Girls over indexing in reading (non-homework related), listening to music and hobbies like arts & crafts, the influence is more on the creative imagination, confidence building slogans and DIY mix and match.

For footwear we see that the need outweighs the want. As 23 per cent of moms who spent more on footwear said it was at the request of their child. While 68 per cent of moms who spent more on footwear said it was driven by tangible needs, such as a size change or occasion. Moms are also more likely to research footwear online (21per cent) prior to purchasing compared to apparel and accessories (15 per cent ).

Technology has not just become a large part of the child’s daily interaction; it has become a large part of mom’s research process for her future purchases. In fact, 55 per cent of moms research their purchases via reviews on retailer websites before purchasing.

As the child ages, technology takes up more of their share of time. 25 per cent of tweens and over 50 per cent of young teens spend time on a social network via mobile in the average week. Spending time on a social network is the #1 activity they engage in every day. Think Mobile apps, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram when interacting with tweens and young teens.

It’s important to remember that apparel, accessories and footwear are an important part of the child’s daily routine and the more you get to know their daily activities and behaviors, the more you will succeed.  Today’s child likes to feel involved in the path to purchase.

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