Where one buys clothing is almost as important as what one buys. Americans have a clear preference for national retailers rather than local independent clothing companies. Brands like Nike, Levi’s, and Adidas are especially popular among U.S. consumers. It is worth noting that two out of the top three primarily produce athletic apparel and footwear. In fact, nearly 10 percent of U.S. consumers purchased sports apparel, shoes, or gear more frequently than once a month in 2016. It is not uncommon to find Americans of all ages wearing track suits, yoga pants, or athletic footwear when they have no intention of working out. Nike, in particular, is a highly desirable brand among both upper-income and average-income U.S. teens.
Among young U.S. consumers, Forever 21 is the most well-loved clothing brand. The fast fashion retailer is known for being affordable and trendy with a wide selection of modestly priced clothing and shoes. Among older U.S. consumers, there is a strong preference for Old Navy. According to a November 2016 survey, physical stores are the preferred retail channel for purchasing clothing and footwear among U.S. consumers. Ask anyone who regularly buys clothing online and one is almost guaranteed to hear a story about purchasing an article of clothing online only to find that they did not like it once they tried it on.
The sustainability of clothing purchases is a controversial and pertinent topic now that shopping for apparel and footwear is easier than ever with the rise of online retailers. Approximately 56 percent of U.S. consumers believe in the importance of sustainability when it comes to purchasing clothing, compared to nearly 90 percent of Indian consumers and 85 percent of Chinese consumers.