As our unofficial quarantine outfit, Entireworld’s sweatpants sales were up 662 percent between March 2020 and a year earlier.
Now though “peak sweatpant has passed.”
Refinery29 reports that our demand for dresses and high heels is surging.
Through Rent the Runway, though, the NY Times told the story. During May, 2020, the pandemic plunge hit its low. As we might expect, women were just not renting the upscale dresses and accessories that they needed for parties and the office. Now, Rent the Runway reports a turnaround. At first, their subscriber numbers went up in Texas, Florida, and Georgia. Then, with a massive increase from February to May, the New York metro area also displayed soaring demand and exploding taste. Ranging from teenagers to the 35 and older group, women want mini dresses, wild colors, crop tops, and cutouts. Compared to last May, Rent the Runway has had a 92 percent spike in active subscribers.
Similarly, shoe sales have gone down and up. During January, 2021, a Brooklyn NY shoe store reported, year over year, a 60 percent drop in sales. But, like Rent the Runway, shoppers are returning. Another retailer, Shoe Carnival, tells us that compared to this time last year, its sales have tripled. Looking for glitz, glamor, pumps, and open sandals, women want heels, ballet flats, and loafers.
Our Bottom Line: Complementary Products
As economists, we can use a determinant of demand to explain the switch from sweats. Including income, taste, complementary and substitute goods and services, the determinants of demand nudge a demand curve to the left or right. A salary increase might make demand for jewelry increase. Or, when Adidas increases its prices, we buy more from Nike. With complementary items, “partners” go up or down together. When peanut butter becomes more popular so too might jelly.
Vaccines and dresses could be called complementary items:
As we got more jabs, our demand for fun apparel rose too. And together, they became our new economic indicators.
My sources and more: Yesterday, through Rent the Runway, the NY Times described our new economic indicators. From there, these Marketplace shoe stories, here and here, and Refinery29 confirmed the turnaround.