NPD Group: Men are taking more fashion risks

Marshal Cohen

Marshal Cohen

Men are taking more risks in their apparel purchases in the US, with the market moving up 1% to $57 billion last year, according to new research.

Based on its Group Consumer Tracking Service for 2012, NPD Group said average selling prices had moved up 3%, but unit volume had slipped by 1%.

“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 at NPD.

“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.”

There was little growth from the top three categories — knit shirts, jeans and woven shirts — but Cohen said men were increasingly comfortable taking “fashion risks,” spending on colorful socks and bottoms.

While off-price retailers were the main beneficiaries of sales of shorts and active bottoms, specialty stores posted double-digit growth for underwear bottoms and socks.

“Retailers will face the challenge of fighting for the men’s share of wallet and keeping the sale in the store with technology,” said 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.”

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