The U.S. men’s apparel market grew 1% in 2012 with total sales of $57 billion with the average selling price up 3% and unit volume down 1%, according to recent results from The NPD Group's Consumer Tracking Service for 2012.
“For the last couple of years, men gave women a run for their money at retail, with growth in sales of men’s apparel consistently outpacing growth in women’s,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “But in 2012, even though women’s did better than men’s apparel, men took fashion more seriously by adding colorful casual wear to their wardrobe.”
While there was little growth from the top three men’s apparel categories – knit shirts, jeans, and woven shirts – there were some stand-out categories that benefited from renewed interest in casual and basic fashion.
“In addition to updating the basics of their wardrobe – underwear, socks, and other essentials –this year men started to feel comfortable about taking more fashion risks,” said Cohen. “They invested in ‘dressing-down’ with spending on colorful socks and bottoms.”
The stores that benefited the most from the sales of shorts and active bottoms were the off-price retailers. This channel is presently growing even faster than the overall market. The popular shopping destinations for underwear bottoms and socks were specialty stores, posting double-digits growths in each category.
“These channel results demonstrate that men still care about the value of an item if they can find the brand names for less,” said Cohen. “The results also show us that men are investing in their casual wear and maybe that’s because they want the new technology these items have to offer even if they are not offered at a lower price.”
In 2012, even though men made fewer apparel buying visits,* down 5% vs. the prior year, 65% of men’s apparel was bought by men. While many men made apparel purchases at manufacturer-owned stores, off-price retailers, and online, fewer shopped at national chains and at mass stores.
“Retailers will face the challenge of fighting for the men’s share of wallet and keeping the sale in the store with technology,” stated Cohen. “They will need to invest in renovations to enhance the shopping experience and online-only businesses might go as far as developing a brick-and-mortar presence to develop the omni-channel retailing business.”[Source: "Consumer Tracking Service." The NPD Group. 16 Apr. 2013. Web. 2 May 2013.]