Target, T.J. Maxx and Gap are appealing to a sweet spot in demographics, with shoppers old enough to have more money but not as old as department stores’ customers, according to a report from Coresight Research. The average department store shopper is "slightly older and more affluent than the average apparel shopper," and, of the major ones, Macy’s attracts a slightly younger average shopper.
Target’s popularity is solid among apparel shoppers ages 30–44, but that "tails off rapidly beyond" that age group, Coresight found, though it outpaces Amazon with those shoppers. T.J.Maxx is the only one of the biggest retailers seeing the highest shopper penetration among the 18–29 age group, according to the report. Meanwhile, Gap’s shoppers are mostly younger than 45 years old.
Walmart’s average apparel shopper is significantly less affluent than the typical apparel shopper, as is H&M’s because its base haven’t reached their peak earnings, according to Coresight. Of those buying clothing or footwear from Target, 42% earn $25,000–$49,999 and 43% earn $150,000–$174,999. T.J.Maxx sees the high penetration rates among middle and higher earners, peaking among those with incomes of $100,000-$199,999. The tendency to shop at Macy’s increases as household income rises, but the popularity of Kohl’s tails off among the highest earners, according to the report.
Coresight's results were gathered from a survey of 1,564 US adults who had bought clothing or footwear in the previous 12 months. Those findings suggest that, if, as executives have stated, Walmart's acquisition of e-commerce pure-plays like Bonobos and Modcloth is to move the needle in apparel sales among younger and wealthier shoppers, it will likely have to continue to keep those banners away from its flagship.
Amazon appears to do best with shoppers in especially high income brackets, outpacing all other top retailers among shoppers earning $175,000-$199,999, which underscores the importance of its wealthier-than-average Prime members.
Similarly, once go-to destinations for apparel, department stores have their work cut out for them in appealing to younger customers. Meanwhile, H&M, which is struggling under the weight of bloated inventories that have forced significant markdowns in recent months, is grappling with Walmart for customers in about the same income bracket, Coresight found.
It's T.J. Maxx in particular that seems to be winning over everybody — rich, poor, old and young — and Target shares some of that strength.