According to a new report from retail research firm Mintel, male consumers in the UK aged between 16 and 35 are the main designer fashion purchasers – with an impressive 55 percent having purchased designer apparel, underwear or footwear in the last three years. This growing appetite for luxury and designer fashion is reflected in the growing interest surrounding LC:M, which has been extended to take place over 4 days rather than 3 this season.
However, it is male millennials who stand out amongst the fashion crowd as the largest buyers of designer fashion, with 57 percent of men between 16 and 24, compared to 48 percent of women of the same age purchasing designer wear over the last three years. From the designer items purchased, premium jeans or denim, t-shirts/polo shirts and shirts are the most likely pieces to have been snagged up by British male millennials, with Ralph Lauren and Armani being highlighted as the most desirable luxury labels amongst men.
‘Under 25 year olds are two times more likely than average to be luxury shoppers’
Overall, the research found that young male shoppers are almost 10 percentage points more likely than women to purchase designer fashion, with under 25 years being two time more likely than average to be luxury buyers. “Designer fashion brands need to increasingly look at ways of attracting a new younger demographic of Millennials who aspire to buy their brands, without losing the exclusivity that is part of the appeal of owning a designer label,” suggested Tamara Sender, Senior Fashion Analyst at Mintel.
“There is potential to launch less expensive sub-brands and to expand fashion accessory ranges to include items such as smartphone and iPad cases and headphones that are popular among young people.” Although young female shoppers have been known for their interest in designer fashion and accessories, where does this boom in male millennial interest in designer wear come from?
Part of the reason attributed to this shift in UK male consumer spend is said to be the lure of the quality promised by designer brands. Male shoppers are said to be drawn to the high quality of designer fashion items, with 28 percent of the 2,000 internet respondents questioned citing this as their main reason for buying designer label.
Again, this reasoning for shopping within the higher-end of the fashion label spectrum peaks again amongst the younger male demographic, with 36 percent of male customers under the age of 25 claiming better quality is the driving factor of their purchase decision. This is 10 percentage points higher than the average and twice that of young women shoppers.
Male shoppers agree ‘designer brands are made from better quality materials’
“At the same time, 43 percent of men aged 16 – 24 agree that designer brands are made from better quality materials,” added Sender, which highlights the perceived importance of quality when it comes to designer purchasing. Millennial male shoppers are also significantly more likely than their young female counterparts to decide to purchase designer brands in order to keep up with a new or changing fashion trend to ensure they stand out from their peers by owning an much wanted item from a specific label.
The research from Mintel also found that men are slightly more likely than women to buy designer fashion items as a gift for someone. “There is scope for brands to develop a gifting service aimed at men buying designer fashion for women to celebrate a special event such as a birthday, anniversary or Christmas,” pointed out Sender.