Lululemon continues to slide

Ted MarzilliCEO YouGov Direct
November 22, 2013, 7:59 PM UTC

Women seem less likely to be shopping at Lululemon, as fallout from CEO Chip Wilson’s controversial comments about yoga pants and women’s bodies appears to have caused female purchase consideration for the brand to be cut more than half in the past three weeks.

Women’s purchase consideration for Lululemon is now one third of its original level at the beginning of 2013.

The incident also marks the fourth time that Lululemon’s brand has taken a large hit in overall perception from women this year. Its biggest slump, stemming from a recall of its stretchy black yoga pants, lasted several weeks beginning the end of February, putting it into negative sentiment territory.

Since then, Lululemon has struggled to recover, perhaps hampered by perceived gaffes such as insiders telling the Huffington Post that large sized clothing is relegated to remote areas of stores and sometimes avoided altogether.

Lululemon CEO Chip Wilson may find it a more difficult and longer road back this time to women’s good graces: his recently posted YouTube apology right after his recent contentious comments seems to have no impact so far on the company’s declining purchase consideration and consumer perception.

Lululemon was measured with two of YouGov BrandIndex’s scores: Purchase Consideration, which asks respondents "When you are in the market next to purchase office supplies, from which of the following brands would you consider purchasing?”; and Buzz, which asks, “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” All respondents were women age 18 and over.

The Purchase Consideration scale is from zero to 100%.

YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score ranges from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

Since the end of October, when Lululemon CEO Chip Wilson made his provocative remarks on Bloomberg TV, the brand has seen its Purchase Consideration drop from 15% to 7%. It was 20% at the beginning of the year.

Lululemon’s current female perception damage started with a Buzz score of 7 on November 6th, with a drop down to its current score of -9, a total loss of 16 points. By comparison, when the yoga pants recall hit, the Buzz score fell from 11 on March 17th to -26 on April 6th, a drop of 37 points.

Lululemon: Buzz, Purchase Consideration - Women 18+