Western dress codes have been relaxed and casualwear is now common in the workplace as well as in social situations. However, tailoring is making a slow comeback as it has become apparent that formalwear is still necessary and appreciated by many consumers.
The athleisure trend has been instrumental in boosting menswear sales in the UK, with sports-inspired styles and performance-enhancing designs having filtered into mainstream men’s fashion, making it more accessible than ever before. The emphasis on “clean sleeping” among wellness gurus has supported sales of nightwear, while the popular British reality television show Love Island helped fuel swimwear sales over the summer.
The famous British reality television show culture has long impacted men’s fashion in the UK, with various regions in England like Liverpool and Essex having become firmly associated with certain aesthetics for both men and women. In 2018, the programme Love Island, combined with the World Cup and a heatwave which lasted several months, saw sales of swimwear rise sharply.
While the rankings at the top of the category remained unchanged in 2018 as brand hype and logomania continued to drive purchases and brand loyalty, at the lower end share was up for grabs. The leading five players in menswear – Marks & Spencer, Next, Primark, Asda and Matalan – remained the same over the review period, while the share of “others” rose by two percentage points to exceed a third of overall value sales.
Pure online players have found their niche in UK menswear in low-cost, high-profit categories like tops and jumpers. Boohoo fared particularly well in 2018, posting strong double-digit growth in both jeans and outerwear.
While online fast fashion retailers can offer next-day delivery and free returns thanks to having fewer overheads than physical operators, traditional British high street shops are struggling. Sales of menswear at Marks & Spencer, a consumer favourite for over a century, fell significantly over 2017/2018.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Apparel and Footwear market research database.