Home Blog 2018 Getting Cozy in the Apparel Industry This Holiday

The NPD Group Blog

Insights and Opinions From Analysts and Experts in More Than 20 Industries

December 25th is really the only day of the year when I welcome a few snowflakes on the ground.  I’m really more of a summer person, but there is something about the holiday season that tends to make snow magical. Maybe it’s the idea of sipping hot cocoa near the fireplace while watching the trees outside sparkle. After all it’s the day when even the Grinch saw his heart grow three sizes.  Whatever the case, it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling . . . a feeling of coziness; a trend that many retailers will strongly emphasize during the upcoming holidays. 

There is no doubt that the casualization trend has taken over the wardrobes of many Americans, but this holiday season we will see this trend in all of its furriness. One word we will hear about is “Sherpa”.   This fabric typically made from polyester, acrylic, or cotton resembles lamb wool or fleece and is named after the Sherpa people of Nepal and Tibet. With their skills in mountaineering, the name exudes warmth and is becoming all the rage.   

Sweatshirts, which have been growing double-digits in both dollars and units, will see continued growth as “giftable” Sherpa options add a fun twist. Besides the athleisure fashion trend, the ability to layer during unpredictable weather has been a strong selling point for sweatshirts and hoodies. And at times they may even be blamed for declines in related categories, like outerwear and sweaters. 

While sweaters have struggled the last few years, we are starting to see small gains for the category which conveys feelings of coziness. Eyelash sweaters are another trend to keep an eye on this holiday (pun intended). They are made from novelty yarn to almost look like fur and can be viewed as winter statement pieces to help revive this category.

Of course, when thinking of cozy apparel, pajamas come to mind.  The growing sleepwear category is front and center this time of the year as nearly half of the category’s dollars are generated during the fourth quarter. Family “jammies” are beginning a new holiday tradition with matching outfits and a theme of togetherness. There are even rumors that the Elf on the Shelf brings breakfast and new holiday pajamas in some households upon his or her return from the North Pole.

Apparel will not be alone in the quest for coziness this holiday season. Microwaveable slippers, weighted blankets with calming effects, furry bags, pom-pom hats, and all things fuzzy will be among the items topping gift lists. Building cross-promotional stories both online and in-stores around this theme will help evoke that feeling of togetherness and warmth, which is a gift everyone wants to give (and get) this holiday.  


Source: The NPD Group/Consumer Tracking Service 12ME Sep’18

Related Blog Posts

Black Friday Through the Eyes of NPD’s Industry Advisors
Black Friday Through the Eyes of NPD’s Industry Advisors

NPD’s industry advisors hit the stores over Black Friday weekend. See their observations on store traffic, what was hot, consumer sentiment, and more.

Getting To Know You…As An Apparel Shopper
Getting To Know You…As An Apparel Shopper

Apparel shopping habits are transforming with both retailers and brands evolving to meet shoppers’ elevated expectations. For apparel manufacturers and retailers it takes understanding that not all apparel consumers shop alike to get the shopping experience right.

Weaving Sustainable Messaging Into Fashion
Weaving Sustainable Messaging Into Fashion

As temperatures finally warmed up, something I thought was never going to happen – I set my sights on switching out clothing to match the season.

Apparel’s Just Gotta Have Fun in 2018
Apparel’s Just Gotta Have Fun in 2018

When a new year arrives, I start to think of the things I’d like to do differently from the last.


Subscribe and get key market trends and insights relevant to your industry each month.

We will not sell your information. View privacy notice.

Follow Us

Privacy Notices.

© The NPD Group, Inc.