There’s nothing more that college students look forward to than Spring Break. It’s a yearly affair of bad booze, week-long parties and other sorts of debauchery on beaches in and around the United States. Ah, those days of bunking with 5 other people in the a sketchy hotel room after days of binge drinking. We miss it… not.
For such a major event on the youth social calendar, it is no surprise that students hit up their favorite “shop-on-a-budget” retailers to refresh their vacation wardrobe. WWD reported on a survey by CollegeFashionista, which found that college students are willing to spend between $100 to $200 for new outfits to wear on their spring break trip. I would like 3 tops, 1 pair of shorts and 2 bikinis, a side dish of trendy not optional.
The surprising thing is that this exodus of half a million youths are not the economic boon that one would think they are. The Atlantic reports that the usual host cities of spring breakers do not reap as much economic benefits from spring break as they do during summer vacation. While it is true that college partiers spend up to $170 million in Panama City (the number one spring break capital) over the six-week period, families (a.k.a parents) with a disinclination for that kind of scene beat out college students in terms of spending power any day.
Why are we doing this analysis then? The hotels and restaurants may not think of spring break as a big deal, but this holiday still matters in the fashion retail calendar as a prelude to the summer and festival seasons. So today we’re diving into college students’ go-to retailers for some insights.
Which Swimsuit Says Spring Break Shenanigans Best?
Well, first, no beach holiday is complete without the right swimwear. Shopping for swimwear is fun when you’re 21, right? Right?!? As a product category within retailer’s larger assortments, it doesn’t comprise a huge amount of their stock, however, it remains a category that can drive destination visits with opportunity for add-on purchases during spring and summer months. And despite challenges around fit, Slice Intelligence released a study that found a 65% increase in online shopping for swimwear from 2015 to 2016.
So what are the hot trends in swimwear at today’s fast fashion retailers?
Well, it’s probably no surprise that assortments of one-pieces make up the smallest percentage of retailers’ assortments, but brands are adding more SKUs from last year. StyleSage data showed that one-pieces increased from 18% to 23% of assortments over last year. Hey, maybe there is something to this whole modesty movement...even amongst younger consumers.
It's also to no surprise that the pricing sweet spot for fast fashion swimwear is under $40. Shelling out big bucks for those itty bitty pieces of fabric is understandably not on most college student's agenda.
Leg Baring Shorts
It's time for these winter legs to get some sun. Shorts are a spring and summer staple (for the guys too)! Our historical analysis shows shorts being dropped (sorry couldn’t help that one) into assortments peaks around mid-April. As we speak, shorts comprise 3% or less of assortments across men’s and women’s, and interestingly, this is a slight decrease from last year (we’re also seeing this same shift in skirts).
The price range of $21 to $50 that fast fashion retailers are able to demand for shorts and the sell-through rate of 6.6% reflect the value these young consumers place in a reliable pair or shorts.
So here’s our checklist for spring break: New one-piece swimsuit? Check. Denim shorts for some cover? Check. Tanning lotion, sunglasses and a floppy hat? Check. Okay we’re ready for spring break! ...Wait, what do you mean I’m not a college student anymore?
To find out more about Spring/Summer Season trends and data, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.