Gender boundaries are being blurred not only in design but also in shopping habits according to a new study by Mintel. Though women have traditionally dominated apparel spending, the research firm said that in 2015, the UK men’s clothing market grew by 4.1 percent, while women’s only grew by 3.7 percent.
The men’s market is now at £14.1 billion (20 billion USD), up from £11.4 billion (16.2 billion USD) in 2010, while the womenswear market is at £26.9 billion (38.1 billion USD). By 2020, the men’s market is expected to grow 22.5 percent to reach £17.2 billion (24.4 billion USD), while womenswear is expected to grow by 17.4 percent to £31.6 billion (44.8 billion USD).
Research from Mintel shows that the youngest male consumers are purchasing online, with 74 percent of men aged 16-24 buying clothes through e-commerce in 2015.
The menswear market is also becoming increasingly casual,; the report said that of the men who bought clothes in the last year, 28 percent bought sportswear, compared to 12 percent who bought a suit.
Tamara Sender, senior fashion analyst at Mintel, said, “The trend for casual sportswear has continued with tracksuit trousers and tops being worn out and about and not just at the gym. Major sporting events in 2016 including Euro 2016, the Rio Olympics and the Ryder Cup are likely to continue to stoke interest in the ‘athleisure’ trend.”
Other hot topics reflected in shopping patterns are plus-size clothing, with 17 percent of shoppers looking for larger sizes, as well as aging consumers showing interest in clothing that meets their specific needs.
Men are also interested in improvements in retail innovation. Almost half of men are interested in sizing technology for buying clothing online that fit. Mintel also saw interest in improvement in lines at the register and changing rooms, along with the desire for styling tips and a personal shopper or stylist.
Sender said, “As spend on clothing is increasingly competing with other areas, clothing retailers will have to work harder than ever to encourage men to part with their money. Tactics such as focusing on more stylish clothes for all ages, offering a wider range of larger sizes, and combining retail with leisure to create destination shopping venues should prove successful for retailers moving forward.”