Gen Z Shoppers Are Ready to Spend on Clothing

Gen Z shoppers care about fashion that helps them fit in––but that also makes a statement through their beliefs and values.
Gen Z shoppers

That’s according to recent survey findings from retailer rue21, which revealed retailers that offer assortment and inclusivity are more in demand. Rue21, a national retailer based in Pittsburgh, offers trendy apparel and accessories, beauty, intimates and activewear targeted for Gen Z shoppers. The retailer has 652 stores in 45 states.

More than half of rue21’s Black and Hispanic customers were prepared to spend 20% more on clothing than they did last year, according to the survey, which was prepared by rue21 and CulturIntel. The survey offers a look at a wide range of customers, as CulturIntel analyzed more than 13.2 online conversations over the past year, while rue21 surveyed its 5.2 million loyalty customers for specific data related to basket sizes, product choices and desire to shop in-store and online, according to a press release.

One of the top findings was that Black and Hispanic customers care more about fashion that enables them to project their values than overall Gen Zers. Many retailers have recognized the importance of values to younger consumers over the past few years as social justice issues have risen to the limelight. Mass retailers such as Walmart, Target and many more have implemented diversity and inclusion initiatives to improve their corporations and better represent the populations of the communities they serve. Smaller brands are also taking on value systems embedded within Gen Z and Millennial shoppers. 

"Forty-percent of our customers are multicultural, and we've built an inclusive brand that takes the time and effort to truly know our customer and meet the fashion desires of the most multicultural generation in history," rue21's CEO Bill Brand said in a statement. "This customer wants to curate their own look in a way that is unique, on-trend and impactful for their peers."

Motivators for fashion were slightly different among demographics, the survey found. Hispanic Gen Z customers sought products that help them fit in, while Black Gen Zers are more interested in fashion that can impact people. That’s compared to 2019, when only 8% of Black Gen Z shoppers bought fashion as a way to make a social impact on peers. 

Overall, shoppers plan to spend 36% more on back-to-school clothes this year compared to last year, when many schools were shut down during lockdown conditions in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Multicultural customers plan to spend much more, the survey found. Nearly half of Gen Zers––45%––also plan to shop more in-store this year than last, while 60% of Hispanics plan to shop more in-store.

In another sign for the retail industry, 37% said they plan to shop less online this year. And the top products are jeans, which 80% plan to shop for, and screen T-shirts (72%).