Emerging Trends in Men’s Retail

Emerging Trends in Men’s Retail

May 24, 2024
5 min read

Recent years have seen clothing purchases grow and grow, as more consumers have participated in ever-changing fashion trends and trend cycles. With a new popular item always on the horizon, let’s dive into the emerging trends in men’s retail in EMEA and APAC regions.

How Budget Impacts on Menswear Spending

The challenging economic landscape influences consumer behaviour, with a rising number of shoppers seeking less expensive retailers.

Consumers have been particularly favouring cheaper online retailers like Amazon and ASOS for purchasing their clothing, with more than half of British consumers opting for them. It may be easy to assume that this focus on online shopping comes primarily from younger age groups, who tend to be better digitally connected. However, the most prominent age demographic for shopping for menswear online is 55-64. With online-only retailers generally able to offer discounted prices, all generations are likely being driven towards online shopping by the appeal of the price tag.

While two-thirds of 25-34-year-olds opted for online retailers to buy menswear in 2022, this figure has decreased by nearly 10% in 2023. Younger consumers are also shopping less frequently at higher priced high street stores and luxury retailers, with sports stores, supermarkets, and value retailers representing the typical preference of people aged 16-34. This shift from luxury to value in young people highlights the behaviour change that relates directly to men’s retail budgets.

Leading Menswear Retailers in the UK

In recent years, the retailers that most men are choosing to shop within the UK are M&S, Next, and Primark. The precise usage figures do fluctuate between generations, with almost 25% more people aged 65+ shopping at M&S than people aged 35-44. A similar usage gap exists between 16-24-year-olds and 65+ year-olds shopping in Primark, which is favoured by younger people.

To look at some more niche trending retailers, we can see that Shein has a much greater divide between generations. The divide between the awareness of Shein between the youngest and oldest respondents was an enormous 65%, with only 2% of people aged 65 purchasing their menswear from the online giant.

In terms of more specific perceptions of brands, Shein has a dual reputation for being both unethical and innovative in their designs. Comparatively, M&S has a strong brand perception for being ethical and delivering great customer service. From this data, we can surmise that young people are more interested in innovative fashion design and shopping experiences than sustainable clothing production or traditional retail delivery, whereas older generations look specifically for customer service and ease of shopping.

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Menswear Trends in APAC

In China, there is a rise in interest for active and leisure wear among men. Six in 10 Chinese consumers agree that good quality is the most important purchasing factor when buying sports and leisure clothing, followed by cost-effectiveness, demonstrating a strong desire for practicality. These findings underline the importance of providing professional, functional products as the backbone of brands’ competitive edges in the sports and leisure wear market.

Men’s Homeware Retail Trends

Men consumers purchase more than just menswear, and Mintel’s report on UK Homewares Retailing reveals emerging trends in men’s home shopping. Compared with women and the national average, men show lower engagement with n purchasing bedroom linens, but more frequently make lighting purchases. In terms of which retailers men use for making homeware purchases, furniture retailers like IKEA and DIY retailers like Homebase are preferred, whereas women typically shop more at supermarkets and discount stores for home goods. Both the item types and retailer preferences signal a trend towards DIY and home renovation from men, compared to general furnishing purchases made more typically by women.

Men’s Beauty and Personal Care Trends in APAC

Men in China have similarly high expectations for BPC retailers as their counterparts, and they show interest in one-stop shopping experiences, professional consultation, and in-store services. Retailers can tap into this potential by enhancing the male BPC product experience and offering more tailored consultations and education, especially for younger consumers.

Thai men are increasingly focusing on their appearance, with one-third of them dedicating more time to their facial skincare routines. However, the male skincare category has been slow to innovate, with large focus remaining on mattifying, moisturising and whitening benefits. This gap in innovation presents an opportunity to meet the growing demand for preventive-ageing skincare and holistic acne products sought out by younger consumers, such as Gen Zs and Millennials.

Thinking Ahead with Mintel

What is clear from Mintel’s reports is that there is a generational divide in what older and younger shoppers are looking for in men’s retail. Older consumers favour reliable, traditional retailers that most of the population is familiar with. On the other hand, younger people are more likely to take risks on less ‘tried-and-true’ retailers for the sake of fashion innovation. Young men’s retail habits have been impacted more acutely by the cost of living crisis, which is seeing them shop less frequently with more high-end retailers. So, with a tighter budget for young consumers, perhaps innovative new brands can offer more bang for their buck.

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