The COVID-19 crisis had a dramatic negative impact on sales of menswear, especially businesswear such as men’s suits, shirts and ties, in 2020. Particularly during the state of emergency in April, the Japanese Government requested that companies switch employees to remote working and face-to-face business occasions declined significantly, undermining demand for formal, occasion-based apparel and footwear.
As social distancing became the “new normal” even during the summer, menswear companies struggled and were forced to offer deep discounts throughout the year as they sought to mitigate losses and liquidate inventory. In this difficult environment, the long and well-established apparel company, Renown, which owned the D’urban menswear brand, was unable to recover from the challenges it has faced in recent years and went into bankruptcy in May.
Major menswear companies worked to respond to the rapid and unforeseen challenges they faced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Efforts to survive the crisis included launching face masks when the availability of disposable masks declined as a result of the surge in demand resulting from the pandemic and disruptions to the supply from China.
While the return to more normal consumer lifestyles as the immediate threat from COVID-19 diminishes is set to drive growth in volume, current value and constant value terms in menswear in 2021, the category is not expected to achieve a pre-COVID-19 level of sales by the end of the forecast period. The recovery of formal clothing segments, such as men’s suits, shirts and ties will be constrained by the lasting rise in the number of people working from home during the forecast period.
The forecast period is expected to see menswear companies increasingly look to develop functional clothing in order to generate consumer interest in a mature market with a declining consumer base and increasing competition from second-hand clothing and sharing and rental services. Clothing offering temperature control capabilities is expected to become increasingly prominent in the market, especially as summer heat becomes more severe as a result of climate change.
Digitalisation will be a key driver of developments in menswear during the forecast period, especially in men’s suits. This will involve the increasing use of digital technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence), AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) in improving the consumer shopping experience, as well as a growing commitment to e-commerce.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Menswear industry in Japan with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Menswear research and analysis database.
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