PITTSBURGH (CBS) — This year, the time-honored tradition of back to school shopping is less likely to include one traditional back to school staple, denim jeans.

Analysts report U.S. jean sales are down six percent year-to-year and consumer researchers speculate that the market may be saturated.

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“People have variety. They have a lot of denim already,” says consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow. “We’ve had such huge growth in denim in the past decade…there’s a natural tapering off. Consumers love to try new things and I think leggings and athletic wear are kind of filling that bill.”

Yarrow points to what’s being called the “ath-leisure” trend, where women of all ages are opting for leggings and yoga pants instead of jeans as a possible cause for the decline. Many men are a choosing jean alternatives, like cotton pants and khakis.

“Six percent is huge,” said Yarrow. “I think, first and foremost, denim will probably come down a bit in price. I think the other thing we’re going to be seeing is a lot more innovation, different ways of wearing jackets vest and so on. There will just be more creativity.”

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Many jean companies have begun using alternative fabrics, or have launched sportswear lines of their own.

Levi Straus – a name synonymous with denim – tells us that, while overall denim sales are down, it has seen a renewed interest in things like denim shorts and jackets.

Levi’s says, after 161-years in business, the company is used to seeing trends come and go.

“Denim is never going to go away,” said Yarrow.

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Consumer experts say one thing that does make this downturn unusual is that even though we’ve seen it before, it’s never gone on for this long; and that’s what has them convinced that at least in the short term, you’ll be able to find pretty good sales on jeans.