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U.K. Menswear Market Outpaces Women’s

British men are living up to their debonair reputation as sales of menswear catches up to women’s.

Global market research provider, Mintel, revealed that the U.K. market for men’s clothing climbed 18 percent to £12.9 billion ($21.9 billion) between 2008 and 2013. Sales are projected to reach £16.4 billion ($27.8 billion) by 2018.

Last year menswear sales outpaced women’s apparel, growing 4.8%, compared to 4.6% for womenswear–indicating that men are becoming increasingly savvy about their appearance.

Men aged 25-34 are setting the upward trend with 94 percent said to have made a clothing purchase in the past year. A quarter of men in this age group said they are driven by the latest fashion when buying clothes, compared to just 17 percent of women the same age. This age group is also as trend conscious as their younger counterparts aged 16-24, as 22 percent of both groups report following fashion closely.

Overall, men are twice as likely as women to prefer branded clothes, and are more willing to pay full price.

Retailers are taking note. Mintel senior fashion analyst Tamara Sender said that while the menswear market is still under-serviced compared to womenswear, more retailers are moving into the sector creating more choice on the high street for men. “Men’s fashion has also been less susceptible to discounting than women’s, as Mintel’s consumer research shows that men are less drawn to bargains,” she said.

According to Mintel, the top five priorities for men when shopping in-store are value for money, product quality, availability of sizes, special offers and sales and finally, a wide selection of brands.

With regard to online shopping, male shoppers consider the cost and speed of delivery before all other purchasing factors.

Online shopping is gaining traction with men, the report noted. As many as 66 percent of men said they have browsed for clothing online, while 60 percent reportedly made an online purchase within the last 12 months. E-commerce is especially popular among men under 55 years old.

However, Sender said that in order to drive online fashion sales among men, retailers will need to provide more flexible delivery options that fit in with consumers’ busy lifestyles.

Mintel released the data on the eve of the London men’s fashion week (June 15-17), where 68 designers presented their SS15 collections, including British fashion stalwarts Jimmy Choo, Nicholas Kirkwood and Burberry.