The NPD Group Reports Men’s Fashion Goes More Casual

Port Washington, NY, April 16, 2013– The NPD Group, Inc., a global information company, released results from its Consumer Tracking Service for 2012. The U.S. men’s apparel market grew 1 percent in 2012 with total sales of  $57 billion with the average selling price up 3 percent and unit volume down 1 percent.

“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.

What did men buy in 2012?

Category Percentage Change vs. Prior Year
Underwear Bottoms 13%
Socks 12%
Shorts 11%
Active Bottoms 11%

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Consumer Tracking Service

“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.

Where are men shopping for their basics?

Category Category / Channel Percentage Change vs. Prior Year
Underwear Bottoms Specialty Stores 29%
Socks Specialty Stores 39%

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Consumer Tracking Service

“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 percent vs. the prior year, 65 percent 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: The NPD Group, Inc. / Shopping Activity

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