Many formal barriers that divided the categories of the menswear market have fallen or blurred in the past year. This evolution has pushed retailers to expand their mens’ sections, an area that used to come as an afterthought to women’s. The new market offers great opportunities for retailers who invest wisely- it is estimated that, by 2019, menswear will contribute around $40 billion to the global apparel market. Less sensitive to trends than their companion, young urbanites are keen to build a personal style all their own. These consumers are likely to invest their dollars in clothing staples to create the foundation of an ‘interchangeable’ wardrobe, that is built to last.
Larger apparel brands that customarily focused on womenswear have begun to open exclusive menswear boutiques, while retail chains and department stores are steadily rehabilitating their own menswear sections. We have seen this trend in both luxury and mass style brands like Burberry or Zara have opened standalone menswear stores to cash in on the wave. Their target is the metrosexual— men living in major urban areas making a good living, using their income to better care for and treat themselves via personal care and higher end clothing, not withstanding wearing luxury bags and accessories. Guys are taking their clothing choices a lot more seriously, which is not only benefiting their style game, but the growth of the global economy. We can’t be mad at that.
The growth projections of the menswear fashion market are pretty consistent with the studies of the exponential growth of China’s wine market. With a population of 1.4 billion by 2015, China has particularly important market potential, both in terms of production and market size. China wine imports in the month of January reached US $420 million, increasing by 40.3% compared to the same period in 2015, price averaging down 24.5% to US $2.78 per liter. Wine consumption has doubled since 2010, placing China as the 5th largest wine-consuming country in the world. Wine consumption is democratized in major Chinese cities, which explains why they may become the largest wine market in 2017 according to the forecast of many studies.
Given all of the above, we should celebrate, as a matter of public policy, that investment is moving from the less efficient to the more efficient form. For, with the same amount of investment, greater efficiency means that the future is going to be richer (and look better). Fashion’s tech’ed-up menswear market is moving closer to true individuality; selling to every man as the individual he feels himself to be, rather than as a demographic, or a market digit. It’s where a generation of informed and researched, experimental and technologically equipped male shoppers meet the trickle-down of the bespoke and ready-to-wear practice in a booming industry. It makes for a lot of style, and a lot of money.