South Africa’s economy continued to see weak growth in 2018 and this coupled with rising unemployment and falling incomes had a negative impact on menswear, with current value growth largely only down to inflation. With consumers looking to limit their spending on non-essentials there was growing demand and attention on products with heavy discounts and promotional offers.
With budgets shrinking consumers sought out value brands in 2018 which favoured affordable local brands such as Mr Price and Pep, which both saw strong current value growth. Meanwhile, in order to maintain sales a number of fashion retailers increased their focus on credit sales and lay-by purchases.
International brands are perceived by many South Africans to be of a better quality and trendier than local brands. Price wise, they often offer better value too and as such are preferred by aspirational consumers.
Mr Price Group Ltd achieved the most dynamic growth in 2018, with its Mr Price brand overtaking Edgars to become the leading menswear brand. The company offers value menswear which given the state of the economy makes it attractive to consumers on a tight budget.
Edcon Holdings Ltd, which led menswear until 2017, continued to struggle in 2018 with it closing underperforming stores. Like most fashion retailers the company struggled towards the end of the review period due to the country’s weak economy, the rising cost of living and high unemployment.
International fast fashion retailers including H&M, Zara and Cotton On continued to see strong growth in menswear in 2018. These retailers offer a wide range of menswear products under one roof with product lines being regularly updated to sustain interest.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Apparel and Footwear market research database.