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