More than 40% of U.S. adults cite apparel shopping as one of their hobbies. Here’s a look at who they are, their motivations and how best to market to them.

Ericka Podesta McCoy, senior vice president of marketing, Resonate

Ericka Podesta McCoy, senior vice president of marketing, Resonate

An astounding 96% of adults and 95% of teens admit to participating in “retail therapy.” Among the categories that these individuals most frequently shop to make themselves feel happier, apparel is tops. That means today’s retail e-commerce marketing leaders need to be thinking about how they appeal to not only the shopper who needs new clothes but also to the shopper who buys apparel as a hobby.

In this State of the Consumer Insight Snapshot, Resonate shares an in-depth look at the demographics, psychographics, brand affinities and media habits of people who say they shop for apparel as a hobby—as well as how today’s e-commerce apparel marketers can better reach them. For the analysis, Resonate tapped into its consumer intelligence marketing platform (covering more than 10,000 attributes representing 185 million people in the U.S.) to better understand the values and motivations of this significant group of consumers.

Overview: Apparel-Shopping Hobbyists

An estimated 41.9% of U.S. adults (76.9 million people) cite apparel shopping as one of their hobbies. This group tends to skew female, though not as overwhelmingly as marketers might think. In general, this audience is a young, wealthy, family-oriented group that is heavily driven by their personal values of self-fulfillment, shared experiences and a sense of belonging. These shoppers are optimists with a desire for excitement and romance in their day-to-day lives, and retailers can feed into these psychological drivers within their messaging. Upbeat messaging and creative that show apparel in a social context are likely to connect with this active audience.


Apparel shopping hobbyists demographicsBrand Affinities of Apparel-Shopping Hobbyists

When you’re trying to reach people who shop for clothing as a hobby, understanding their brand affinities outside of the apparel category can yield useful insights. These insights can aid in customer segmentation, as well as creative and messaging for advertising. But perhaps more importantly, it also enables retail marketers to identify potential partners for the purposes of cross promotions online or via loyalty programs.

In the case of people who consider apparel shopping to be a hobby, we see that the group’s brand affinities represent a healthy mix of price point preferences, not only in clothing but also in hotels, airlines, restaurants and other retail categories. For prospecting purposes, apparel e-commerce marketers may want to consider identifying brands below that mirror their own on the bargain vs. luxury spectrum and tailoring ad buys or cross-promotions to audiences with a demonstrated interest in those complementary brands.

Apparel hobbyists favorite retailersMedia Habits of Apparel-Shopping Hobbyists


Much like brand affinity, understanding an audience’s media consumption habits enables a retailer to make better targeting and ad-buying decisions and gain a better understanding of their audiences. When it comes to people who shop for clothing as a hobby, we see that this audience is exceptionally active online, with more than half spending 20+ hours per week online.

Retailers, both strict e-commerce brands and those with both physical and online shops, would do well to ensure their media buys and social media strategies align with the digital platforms that are most frequented by this group. Notably, Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram are the favorite social networks among these consumers, and their favorite app categories include food and drink, health and fitness, and entertainment and lifestyle.

Resonate provides consumer intelligence designed to help marketers better engage their target audiences.