Fashion and more importantly shopping have always been used as economic indicators, when times are good people start shopping which then helps boost the economy even more. Forbes recently published a list of clever economic indicators that send the message that the economy is getting better. Two fashion related shopping items made it onto the list. Help the economy, Go Shopping!
Denim offers a dependable take on the economy, says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, a market research firm. Reason: Jeans are a relatively cheap investment and one of the first things consumers buy when the economy starts to bounce back. While overall apparel sales have slumped, denim sales have already started to pop: For the six months from January to June, denim sales jumped 5.3% to $7.6 billion vs. the same period in 2008.
Department stores might be more packed, but that doesn’t mean more people are actually buying. Once a month, NPD’s Cohen hits the malls and counts shopping bags. He stands at the same time, on the same day of the week, at same location (12 different U.S. locations a year) and spends an hour counting how many bags shoppers are holding. Between August 2008 and August 2009, the bag count dropped 12%–better than January’s year-over-year bag-count drop of 20%. “We’re heading in the right direction, but we’re not there yet,” says Cohen.