Men Outshopping Women in Canada

Men’s Apparel sector thrives and minimizes the dip in Fashion industry sales

TORONTO, March 12, 2012 – Canadian men have never looked better, and it might have something to do with their shopping habits. According to 2011 year-end sales results from leading market research company The NPD Group, Inc., men’s clothes have been flying off the racks, making the Men’s Apparel segment the only one in the Fashion industry to report any growth at the end of last year (three per cent). Women, who are often portrayed as shopping addicts, showed declined apparel sales (four per cent), while retailers selling children’s wear also declared a similar slump (two per cent).

The total Apparel Market, comprised of the Apparel, Basics and Apparel Accessories industries, brought in $22.9 billion in 2011, but has shown an overall decline of two per cent compared to 2010. While men were doing their part to stave off further loss, those ages 35-54 in particular showed signs of a collective heightened fashion sense. The group shifted away from casual wear purchases, gravitating instead towards tailored articles of clothing. In a sector where comfort is thought to be king, sweaters were swapped for sport coats, while tops became increasingly popular in general.

“The ‘well-dressed male’, who makes a concerted effort with his attire and pays particular attention to style, is a trend that is proving to have staying power,” said Kathy Perrotta, director of Sales for Canada Fashion, The NPD Group. “Purchasing fashion-forward shirts and blazers is the simplest way to diversify an existing wardrobe, and men will continue to flock to retailers who make shopping easy for them.”

Though women are frequently pegged as therapeutic spenders, trends in Women’s Apparel sales indicate that they are now seeking other ways to feel good. Shapewear purchases have declined by 30 per cent in dollar volume, while swimwear has grown by 24 per cent amongst 25-44 year olds, suggesting that women are boosting their moods by getting active. As a whole, the Activewear segment is being driven by women ages 35-44.

Shapewear is still predicted to have its place in fashion, however. Industry experts have dubbed 2012 ‘The Year of the Pantyhose’, as this once drab wardrobe staple is gaining popularity, which is illustrated by the eight per cent increase in annual sales. In addition to chic patterns and colours, stockings now include features like aloe to moisturize skin and caffeine to tone legs, innovations that continue to attract a generation of consumers that once considered pantyhose outdated.

“It’s no surprise that shopping habits reflect the important role fitness plays in the lives of Canadian women, but shapewear always seems to find its way into their drawers,” continued Perrotta. “By keeping items fashionable, the added benefits are mere perks for shoppers who don’t believe the extras are necessities, and therefore a great way for retailers experiencing challenges to boost their sales through new markets.”

Not surprisingly, getting a good deal is still of the utmost importance to consumers. Across the Apparel Market channel, Off-Price Retailers (those that sell brand names at discounted prices) and Warehouse Clubs (those that sell items in large quantities at wholesale prices), are the only groups that reported both dollar and unit growth. Over 50 per cent of apparel purchases across the Men’s, Women’s and Children’s categories are bought on sale, demonstrating that Canadians are still cautious shoppers. In turn, retailers will need to price their merchandise accordingly and make the value of their products clear to attract Canada’s growing number of bargain hunters.

Graphs

Activewear

3%

Sportcoats

12%

Tailored

6%

Dress Pants

-9%

Sweaters

-7%

Dress Shirts

10%

Tops

4%

Total Men's Market

3%

Pantyhose

8%

Shapewear

-30%

Swimwear

14%

Activewear

1%

Dresses

5%

Bottoms

-6%

Tops

-4%

Total Women's Market

-4%

 


Press Contact

David Riley
917-543-5465
david.riley@npd.com

The NPD Group, Inc.
900 West Shore Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

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