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Talking ‘Bout My Generation – When it Comes to the Hottest Retail Brands

“Heat Index” ranks the most popular footwear and apparel brands for different age groups




Shopping attitudes and behaviors vary, sometimes widely, by generation. But each generation still plays a key influence role, whether it’s over style and fashion or spending power.

“In today’s marketplace, which seems to get more crowded by the day, it’s critical for brands to understand what’s resonating with each generation. This can help brands build the best strategies to cut through the noise and reach their target audience,” said Jon Weber, L.E.K. Consulting Managing Director and co-author of the “2023 U.S. Footwear and Apparel Brand Heat Index.”

So, which brands and retailers are gaining popularity – or brand “heat”? L.E.K. sought to answer that question by surveying nearly 4000 U.S. consumers between the ages of 14 and 55. Each brand then earns a “heat score” on a scale of 0-100 – the higher the score, the hotter the brand. The second annual Brand Heat Index ranks brands by generation – Gen Z, millennial and Gen X – across four product categories each in men’s and women’s apparel and footwear.

“While this year’s Brand Heat Index revealed several significant consumer trends, it’s worth noting that legacy brands that have been able to provide a consistent message and experience over time, like Nike and Columbia, have maintained their strong overall performance – but consumers are also getting excited about up-and-coming brands, like HEYDUDE, HOKA and On,” said Laura Brookhiser, L.E.K. Managing Director and co-author of the survey report.

“Not surprisingly, younger consumers prefer newness and fast fashion, like SHEIN, ZARA and Lulus, while older ones are more likely to place a greater emphasis on comfort and quality, like Patagonia,” Brookhiser said.

Click here for more detailed look at how the various brands stack up.



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