The Kentucky Derby: Hat and Apparel Accessory Sales in USA

The Kentucky Derby, what is known as the greatest two minutes in sports, is an experience that will likely not be forgotten. Visitors from all around the world gather to watch the live horse race and place bets on a winning horse. There is so much festivity built up around the Kentucky Derby that going there has become about so much more than the race itself. It has transformed into a fashion-forward event. In order to look the part, fans sport preppy bowties and wear bright coloured dresses. What is often seen as the most important derby accessory? The hat.

Many eyes will be on the signature hats worn by the female attendees. The hats are worn in a range of styles including headbands, top hats, fedoras and wide-brimmed hats. While hats are widely considered mandatory items at the Kentucky Derby, consumers view apparel accessories as less essential items overall.

Top Apparel Accessories by Category 2017 by USD Million

  1. Hats/Caps – 4,836.5
  2. Gloves – 4,124.1
  3. Belts – 3,004.6
  4. Scarves – 1,524.6
  5. Ties – 788.6

The Driving Force Behind Apparel Accessories Sales

Discovery and impulse purchases are the driver of apparel accessories. Retail stores strategically place items close to the cash register to attract customers to purchase. Thus, the major shift to online shopping has reduced the opportunities to lure customers. However, retailers are finding new ways to convince online browsers and shoppers to make additional purchases of apparel accessories by displaying total outfit ideas on social media and their websites. Brands have an opportunity to drive hat and other apparel accessory sales by providing suggested items that qualify for free shipping at shopping carts.

Retail Volume for Hat Sales Increase in the U.S.

With the move to sportswear and casual attire, consumers are purchasing fewer apparel accessories such as hats, belts, gloves and ties. Consumers are reassessing their priorities and increasingly asking themselves what they truly value. Even though the major shift to online shopping has reduced opportunities to lure customers to purchase accessories, the retail volume of hat sales will continue to increase through 2022.  Internet retailing will continue to see strong growth as well because it allows consumers to purchase accessories quickly and easily online, without being worried about the size or fit.

Graph of the sales of hats and caps from 2003 to 2030

Source: Euromonitor International