• Just Style

UK menswear market grows faster than womens in 2016

The UK's men's clothing market grew more than twice that of the womens last year with this trend expected to continue as young men up their frequency of spend.

The menswear market hit GBP14.5bn (US$18.4bn) in 2016, according to new research from Mintel, growing by around 2.8%, more than double the women's clothing market, which rose by just 1.3%.

The menswear sector still only accounts for 27% of the total clothing market, however, reaching GBP14.5bn in 2016, compared to the womenswear market which hit GBP27.25bn.

More than three in five (61%) male shoppers surveyed for the report agree that frequent special offers make it unnecessary to purchase clothes at full price. As young men are buying clothes more frequently, they are looking for retailers to respond to this, with one fifth (21%) of male shoppers aged under 25 wanting more frequently updated collections.

Mintel forecasts menswear will grow by 12.3% between 2016 and 2021 to reach GBP16.3bn.

"More retailers and brands have been tapping into the growing menswear market by expanding their men's clothing offer, as well as launching stores and separate websites dedicated to men's fashion," says Tamara Sender, senior fashion analyst at Mintel. "As more retailers are entering the menswear market and men are faced with greater choice of products, styles and sizing, the sector is becoming more competitive.

"Millennial men are also becoming more demanding, wanting higher quality pieces, frequently updated collections and unique designs, and they will choose to buy clothes from those retailers and brands that step up to the plate."

Young men are more likely than young women to have bought footwear in the last quarter (47% of male 16-24s versus 45% of female 16-24s), with the rising popularity of trainers driving men's footwear sales.

Meanwhile, men aged 25-44 have overtaken women of the same age when it comes to buying clothes in the three months to December 2016 (47% of male 25-44s versus 43% of female 25-44s).

Men are also more likely than women to agree it is worth paying more for clothes made in Britain, with 42% of male shoppers agreeing compared with 37% of female shoppers. Indeed, willingness to pay a higher price for locally made garments peaked last year among male 25-34s (62%).

And, over a third (36%) of male shoppers would be interested in more eco-friendly fabrics used in clothes. This rises to two in five (40%) with men aged 16-34.

The survey also found that one in four men (26%) would like the option to purchase directly from a social media site. Younger Millennial males are the most interested in a delivery pass that has a membership fee for free annual, unlimited delivery and collection. Over half (55%) of 17-26-year-old men agree with this, compared to an average of 41%.

Meanwhile, a third (32%) of male shoppers would like to see more consistent sizing, this rises to four in ten (39%) over-55s. With the obesity crisis driving the need for larger sizes, some 13% of male shoppers say they would like to see more plus sizes.

At the other end of the scale, one in twenty (6%) would like to see more petite sizes.

And, with men increasingly dressing more casually, almost three fifths (58%) agree that sporty styles of clothing are practical for everyday wear. Men are more likely than women (50%) to agree with this, highlighting the importance of sportswear for the menswear market.

Three in ten (30%) men aged 16-24 and around one quarter (23%) of men aged 25-44 have bought sportswear in the last three months.