Summer is in full swing, and in preparation for beach vacations and sun-drenched days by the pool, total swimwear* sales in the U.S. reached $4.4 billion in the 12 months ending May 2014 (June ’13 – May ’14), a 6 per cent increase over the prior year, according to a report published by The NPD Group.
“There is a healthy demand for swimwear, and we can expect this to continue for a few reasons,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group. “We’re seeing the launch of innovative products that provide health benefits and enhanced comfort, including UV protection, thermal swimwear, and more lightweight performance swimwear. Also, let’s not forget that stylish swimwear is important to many consumers, who tend to update their suits every season. Combining innovation with such consistent demand enhances the fact that consumer swimwear spending is not going away anytime soon.”
The swim shirt category, while small, is gaining share in the swimwear market. Swim shirts represented 5 per cent of total swim sales in the 12 months ending May 2014, an increase of two share points from the prior year.
“Men and women are finding more use for the swim shirt than originally designed, and herein lies a lesson for designers. Women, for example, are wearing them as cover-ups, swimwear action pieces, and even as sportswear,” added Cohen. “Swim shirts can be used for a variety of water and other outdoor activities, for the sports enthusiasts or those simply looking to protect themselves from the sun or lounge by the water, demonstrating that this diverse sportswear has some real growth potential.”
Most other swimwear categories also saw growth, namely women’s one piece (+16 per cent), two piece (+8 per cent), and cover-ups (+7 per cent).
*Total swimwear includes men, women, boys, girls, infants, and toddlers.