We shopped at Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie to see which store was superior and why their parent company is struggling. What we saw made everything clear.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider
  • Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters are both branches of a larger parent brand, URBN – in the last three months, its shares have dropped nearly 15.9%.
  • Both stores are famous for similar bohemian styles, yet each brand has its trademark audience. We visited both to see why the brand is struggling and to determine which store is better to shop at.
  • Though more expensive, Anthropologie won us over with its elegant store design and large inventory outside of clothing.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

They both offer bohemian-style clothing loaded with colour and whimsical prints – but which store does it better?

Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters were born from the same parent company, so naturally, they’re similar in a lot of ways. Still, each store has managed to carve out totally separate identities with their own unique customer base.

Anthropologie is known to cater to an older audience with its higher prices and extravagant inventory. Urban Outfitters, on the other hand, is the brand of choice for more spending-conscious shoppers who still want clothing with interesting patterns and textures.

We shopped at both stores to see which offers the better shopping experience. Anthropologie won us over with its grandiose store and diverse inventory outside of just clothes.


First, we stopped by Anthropologie.

Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesI visited the location Manhattan’s Financial District (not pictured).

The store’s layout was incredibly spacious. The clothing was neatly arranged on wooden tables and simple metal racks.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

The high ceiling’s intricate geometric design gave the store a regal and luxurious atmosphere. Massive columns made the room appear larger than life.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

The design of the store practically screamed “rural.” The rustic wood panels on the floor and the wooden display tables helped contribute to this overall theme.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Anthropologie tends to be on the more expensive side. Luckily, I was there during its summer sale and some items were up to 70% off.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Still, the store was practically empty and the prices were pretty high. This tiger-print dress was $US150.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Downstairs, there was more clothing to browse. Many items had earthy tones that fit nicely with the colour scheme of the store.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

And most pieces had that signature bohemian Anthropologie look.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

In addition to clothing, Anthropologie has a large selection of home goods. There was a whole table of scented candles …

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

… as well a stationary and notebook section.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Downstairs, I found the Anthropologie Design Center — the store’s department for home improvement and decoration.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

The design center allows customers to book appointments with an in-home stylist to design every detail of a space, from wallpaper to custom furniture.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

There were some mock rooms on display to give customers an idea of how their homes could look. A closer look revealed some items were pricier than I anticipated. One coffee table was selling for almost $US2,000.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

There was a neatly-organised selection of health and beauty products …

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

… as well as a glass-enclosed display of handcrafted jewellery by Jemma Sands, a collection from the West Coast that uses natural and ethically-sourced stones and gems in its jewellery.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Nearby, I found a table of cute hair accessories and headbands.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Of course, a trip to Anthropologie would not be complete without a requisite visit to the sale section — luckily, this store had a huge one.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

The clothes in the sale room were arranged by colour. There was a bunch of cute items to choose from — and with up to 70% off certain items, the price was right.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

This cute textured dress was on sale for less than $US100 — still somewhat expensive, but not too bad.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Next, we walked across the street to Urban Outfitters.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

True to its name, this store had an urban and unfinished quality. It felt like walking into a building that was in the process of construction.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

In some sections, the store was literally unfinished. While I was browsing, I noticed a few shelves being constructed before my eyes …

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

… and a wall being painted in the middle of the store. Luckily, this construction fit in with the “in-development” theme of the store. But it was still a bit distracting.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Unlike Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters carried more casual clothing for everyday wear. There was a large selection of graphic tees …

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

… as well as hoodies.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

This photo booth was a perfect addition to the Urban Outfitters experience — it fit in with the vintage atmosphere of the store.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

So did these Polaroid cameras available for purchase nearby.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Though smaller, Urban Outfitters also had a home goods section — and it was definitely less expensive than Anthropologie’s.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Like Anthropologie, there was also a variety of beauty products.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Urban Outfitters also had a sale room — and items were going for an additional 40% off.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

The sale racks were more disorganized here than the ones at Anthropologie. But on average, there were better deals to be found here. This colourful plaid dress was going for under $US25 after all the sale discounts.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Of course, not all items were a bargain. This chiffon gown was priced at $US350.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

For the most part, the deals were hard to beat at Urban Outfitters. But around almost every corner, it seemed like disorganization and messiness was lurking.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

In some cases, the mess was incredibly distracting.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Downstairs, I found a large men’s section — something that Anthropologie lacks — with everything from shirts and shorts …

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

… to shoes.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

I also found an all-gender fitting room downstairs near the men’s section.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Urban Outfitters offered a totally different experience than Anthropologie. In some ways, it felt more tailored to the average person. Unfortunately, this often came with a mess that significantly detracted from the quality of the store.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

I could see Anthropologie from the second-floor window of Urban Outfitters — Overall, the experience at Anthropologie was far more enjoyable, from the store’s design to the merchandise available. Though more expensive, Anthropologie won me over this time. Still, the slow customer traffic/high price combination at Anthropologie and the mess at Urban Outfitters suggest a few reasons for the company’s recent slump.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.