The company’s findings for 2022 The US Footwear and Clothing Brand Heat Index is segmented across generations (including millennials and Gen X) by gender across four use categories. To assess the ‘hotness’ or relative growth trajectory of each brand, LEK compiled the survey results into a new ‘brand heat index’.
Boston-based global consulting firm, LEK’s latest survey of Gen Z’s most preferred clothing and footwear brands (9-24 year olds) in the US found that Crocs, Nike, Shein, Columbia and Dr Matern’s are among the top picks. Company findings for 2022 US Footwear and Clothing Brand Heat Index segmented across generations by gender.
In the sports shoe category, Nike and Brand Jordan dominate for both men and women. Outside of those, Vans, Converse, Adidas, Under Armor, Veja and On Running all made the top 10 across genders. Rounding out the top 10 for women are Nobull and Tretorn, Puma and New Balance for men.
Similar to footwear, Nike dominates sportswear for both men and women, followed by Lululemon. The top ten women’s brands also include Gymshark, Fabletics and Sweaty Betty. Adidas, Champion and Supreme are for both men and women, and start-up brands, such as Tracksmith, Western Rise and Vissia, are popular for men.
As for casual footwear Crocs, Dr Martens, Birkenstock and Timberland are among the top five hottest brands for both Gen Z men and women. Then the list is split, men prefer brands like Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger and newer brands like Greats, Vionic and OluKai. Women also look to brands like UGG, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger – as well as Thousand Fell interested in sustainability, with newer brands Tkees and Asos making the top 10.
Leading the way in women’s casual wear are online fast fashion brands – Shein, Fashion Nova and Prettylittlething, with retail brands Carhartt, Urban Outfitters and Zara also doing well. Gen Z women also look to more affordable brands, such as Forever 21. The men’s list is also headed by Shein, but the leaders are more classic brands, with Tommy Hilfiger and Carhartt in the top three. For Gen Z men, other mall-based retailers – Uniqlo and Hollister – join the list. American Eagle, H&M and Hot Topic are popular for men and women.
When it comes to outdoor footwear, Columbia is very popular among both men and women. For women, followed by the brands featured on the men’s list: Bearpaw, Reef, Sorel and Merrell. Teva, Mammut and Arc’teryx are hot for women, and Eddie Bauer makes the top 10. For men, Black Diamond tops the list with Oakley in second. Also hot for men: Cat Footwear and Helly Hansen.
“In the outdoor footwear segment, our survey shows a greater reach even among the top ten ranked brands, showing only a handful of brands driving differential growth in terms of levels. consumer appeal and a host of other brands that do well but don’t have strong consumer interest.” speak Jon Weber, LEK partner and survey report co-author.
For both men and women, the outdoor clothing market is led by brands such as The North Force, Patagonia and Columbia. The list is split from here – for women, Fjällräven, Helly Hansen, Norrøna, Rab, Arc’teryx, Freefly and Rossignol finish at the top of 10. And for men, the list continues with NRS, Snow Peak, Norrøna, Aether, Oakley, Simms and Black Diamond.
“Interestingly, Gen Z men – based on the scores they assigned to the top 10 brands – were less engaged or excited about multiple outdoor clothing brands,” says Weber. with Generation X and young generation partners”.
With clothing and footwear, Gen Z men are less likely to enter this category, and mall brands are strong, like Aldo. Hugo Boss topped the list for men, with Alfani and Cole Haan performing well, and Ferragamo, Stacy Adams, Vince Camuto, Kenneth Cole and Nisolo making the top 10. For women, Calvin Klein and Sam Edelman trailed Steve Steve. Madden, with other brands – Michael Kors, Coach, Kate Spade and Chinese Laundry – behind them. Smaller brands, such as Jack Erwin and Franco Sarto, also made the top 10.
In clothing, Calvin Klein topped both lists. Wholesale brands, such as Astr the Label and Adrianna Papell, feature on the women’s list, including Michael Kors, Bardot, Kate Spade, MM LaFleur, Veronica Beard and Reformation. The menswear category sees the Department of Supply, Banana Republic and Theory doing well, along with Indochinano, Marc New York and Zegna.
“Each generation has its own distinct style preferences, it’s possible to see which brands are trending in each group. By understanding which brands are doing the best in reach and, more importantly, the future. Working with their target customer segments, other brands, retailers and investors can come up with which strategies are likely to have the most impact on their businesses,” Chris Randall, LEK partner and co-author of the survey report.
“As Generation Z continues to age with greater spending power and fashion influence, clothing and footwear brands have focused attention their way – and with their behavior and attitudes. As shopping habits change relative to other generations, brands and investors need to better understand their generation’s preferences to gain the upper hand,” said Laura Brookhiser, LEK partner and co-author of the survey report.
Fiber2 fashion news desk (HO)