As the prom dress buying season starts to peak, Occasion Brands, LLC, releases this issue of Pulse of Prom with the 2018 early prom season’s online sales trends for both junior and senior proms in the United States. Senior prom sales continue to reign supreme at 57% of total prom dress sales, with junior prom sales not far behind at 43%. As mid-season approaches, the junior prom sales have increased by 1% in the first two weeks of March. This shows that customers start shopping early for senior prom; whereas, junior prom dresses are purchased later in the season. Among these sales, national preferences are increasingly uniform. Affordable, classic styles with “stand-out” design features made in chiffon and tulle are driving early prom dress sales. Top color choices this year are shades of red or mauve.
Top-Selling Prom Dresses National, Not Regional
With the influence of social media and the connections shoppers make online, the prom dress sales trends are becoming more consistent nationwide, as opposed to showing the local or regionally specific trends seen in the past. Out of thousands of dresses available online for prom, the same three dress styles are nationally the top three sellers for both junior and senior prom this season. These three dresses consistently rank in the top 5 for proms across all regions. Specifically, they are the top 3 for the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific (Alaska and Hawaii). These popular dress styles make it clear that the top trends and style preferences are universal this year.
Affordability Drives Sales
Affordability continues to drive dress sales online for early prom season. Average price paid for a prom dress consistently falls between $100-$200 at this point in the prom dress buying season, with 42% of all junior prom sales and 41% of senior prom sales falling in this same range. The top ten most popular dress styles selling in each region reflect this price range preference, while consumers in the Midwest and Pacific regions are spending just slightly more for senior and junior prom with the top ten styles in the $150-$200 and $150-$250 price ranges, respectively.
Stand-Out Design Features on Classic Styles Prevail
The top 10 prom dresses coveted nationally continue to be long, v-neck, and slightly a-line styles with minimal beading, sequins or embellishments. This shows a clear preference for simple and classic styling. However, each of the top selling dresses features one “stand out” element that differentiates it from the other styles. Double slits, embroidered-illusion bodices, and exaggerated high-low side slits are a few examples of the “stand out” features on popular styles. These provide a modern twist to otherwise classic looks.
Chiffon and Tulle Predominate
Fabric preferences nationally show that chiffon dominates this prom season. The majority of the top styles sold feature long, flowing chiffon skirts in a soft a-line shape. Tulle-mesh, also cut in floor-length a-line styles, is a close second. In the Northeast, West, and especially the Pacific, soft, curve-hugging jersey is beginning to make an appearance among the top ten prom dress styles sold.
Bold Red and Subtle Mauve Hold Sway
Solid colors continue to prevail nationally. Bold red and burgundy are the top color picks for prom dress sales for the early prom season. In the Midwest, West, and Pacific, shades of red represent at least half of the top ten styles chosen by customers for prom. Mauve is beginning to make an appearance, especially in the Pacific region where three of the top ten styles sold are in this soft hue. Neutral tones, along with navy, black, and teal, round out the preferred color picks in the top ten prom dress styles nationally.
The data for these early season prom trends represents sales between January 1 and March 19, 2018 across the United States by PromGirl, a leading national online prom retailer.