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Justin Bieber Merch Boosts Sales and Social Engagement for Urban Outfitters

The Bieber Effect is real.

Despite the fact that Justin Bieber's Purpose Tour merch might have been a little overexposed this year — he sold it everywhere from Barneys to VFiles to Forever21 to PacSun — it was a big hit for Urban Outfitters.

In August, after Barneys and VFiles had both carried exclusive (and expensive) versions of Bieber merch designed in collaboration with Fear of God's Jerry Lorenzo, Urban Outfitters became the first retailer to sell more affordable items, ranging in price from $35 to $89. According to Urban executives, who discussed the limited-edition partnership during the company's third-quarter earnings call Tuesday afternoon, it was a great success. Not only did the popular merch contribute to Urban's third-quarter revenue boost — comparable sales were up 5.2 percent, while Anthropologie and Free People saw declines — but executives also reported "long lines" globally when the collection dropped, as well as a huge boost in social-media engagement. To support the release, the brand held events in New York, London and Los Angeles, which were all covered extensively on social media; altogether, the launch represented Urban's "largest social reach to date" with over 237 million Twitter impressions.

Calvin Klein saw a similar response when it cast Bieber in its campaigns — only in this case, Urban Outfitters didn't have to hire Bieber to do any shirtless photo shoots. No wonder so many retailers worked to get their hands on this tour merch.

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