The menswear market is heating up like never before
Men may universally be considered the dominating gender, but when it comes to shopping, women outshine men by a huge margin. Not only are women the biggest customer segment in apparel retail, but a majority of brands/retailers invest enormous amount of both time and money in understanding their preferences and aspirations. And though it may take years for gender equality in retail to happen…, the momentum in menswear has picked up. Among the most noteworthy trends in category retail, is the surgency of men’s fashionwear with almost all market analysts predicting that the growth in menswear will outpace that of women’s wear in the next few years. Though the menswear sector accounts for only 27 per cent of the total clothing market, the undercurrent is strong, and according to market research firm ‘Euromonitor’, the global menswear market will swell to £ 375 billion by 2020, up from £ 335 billion in 2015. On similar lines, retail analytics company ‘Edited’ expects menswear to grow at a faster rate than womenswear over the next three years, with net gains of 2.3 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively. In the UK market alone, menswear is predicted to grow by 0.7 per cent, whereas womenswear is predicted to increase by 0.2 per cent.
So, what has changed…? Well for one, the attitude of men towards fashion has undergone a revolution. The period between the Victorian era and the industrial revolution was high on men’s fashion. Who can forget the frilled shirts, fancy waist coats, tall hats and the fitted trousers that we see in period movies, like Pride and Prejudice and Titanic. With industrialisation, clothing became a commodity and men turned to more practical clothing and workwear. Of course, fashion did exist, but the percentage of men really interested dwindled.
Not surprisingly, fashion shows were conceived for women and it is as late as 2012 that London announced that it would dedicate an entire weekend to menswear fashion designers, adding a thrust to menswear fashion, beyond the customary shirts and pants. Slowly, brands are realising that men are also individual shoppers and not just husbands, boyfriends, sons and brothers of shoppers. They have also appreciated that men actually enjoy the experience of shopping. Several top-line brands such as Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Hermès have augmented their menswear stores with amenities like barbershops, coffee bars, whisky bars and even full-blown restaurants with member’s club vibes that makes male clients feel happy spending time and money there.
The segment within menswear, which is growing the fastest, is casual and streetwear. This movement is a reflection of the trend of dressingdown in corporate wear, where professionals are now looking at clothes that do not necessarily fall within the age-old definition of professional wear. To meet increasing demand, price points across most apparel items have risen significantly in the last five years, but particularly among products like bomber jackets and sneakers. (The average price of a luxury menswear item is US $ 232.29 across all categories, an uptick of 64 per cent over the past five years, the edited data shows.)
The retailers/brands leading the menswear revolution include