How important is fashion to men?
Mintel’s research shows that men are more than four times as likely to prefer to buy classic styles that will last beyond the seasons, than to buy the latest fashion. While young men aged 16-24 still like to keep up with the latest trends, more of them are opting for classic styles. This is partly being driven by a fashion for classic clothes, with retailers such as Topman seeing a rise in interest in pieces such as suits and coats, while John Lewis and M&S have reported rising sales of modern versions of old classics. As part of this trend there has also been a focus on British styles, with Topman’s premium suit range featuring garments made from Scottish Harris Tweed and M&S’s Made in Great Britain capsule collection of menswear will be made using traditional British fabrics and manufacturing techniques.
The renewed appetite for classics, however, is also being driven by an uncertain economic climate, which has resulted in a rise in men mainly buying clothes when they need to replace worn out ones. Therefore when men do buy they are more likely to opt for quality clothes that will last. Fashion conscious young men are not following fashion trends as avidly and there been a 10-percentage point drop in under-35s who are no longer living with their parents wanting to keep up with the latest fashions since the previous report published in April 2012 and even young Fledglings who are still living at home are updating their look less frequently.
What can retailers do to improve the shopping experience for men?
Half of male consumers agree that the in-store shopping environment is important, particularly 25-34s and affluent ABs, which are both demographic groups that are growing. A similar proportion of men also state that good customer service would encourage them to shop more at a retailer and this attitude also peaks among better-off consumers.
These figures highlight the importance of investing in the consumer shopping experience through an improved store environment and the latest technology to entertain male consumers. H&M has remodelled its Oxford Circus store to include a chill out area and is offering free Wi-Fi to its customers. Young fashion retailers need to be innovative in terms of design and technology so that young men continue to visit their stores with their friends and buy clothes while they are there.
There is scope for other retailers such as New Look and River Island to focus more on turning their stores into retail destinations offering shoppers an outstanding customer experience, where men will visit the store to ask the staff for advice about clothes and then complete the purchase either on an in-store iPad, on their own mobile device or back at home on their laptop.