Holiday sales in the U.S. reached an all-time high as confirmed by Mastercard Spending Pulse, a national sales report with 2018 shopping data from November 1 to December 24.
Overall holiday sales “increased [by] 5.1 percent to more than $850 billion this year – the strongest growth in the last six years”. Additionally, total online sales grew by 19.1 percent in comparison to 2017.
While sales growth among electronics and appliances declined by 0.7 percent and department stores declined by 1.3 percent, sales growth in apparel increased by 7.9 percent – the highest growth since 2010. Home improvement sales also saw a profitable season with an increase of 9 percent.
Although this large growth in apparel includes men’s, women’s, and kid’s clothing, men’s clothing shows the upper hand in projected growth for 2019.
According to the IBM 2019 Retail Forecast, menswear is projected to increase by 3.23 percent, compared to the projected 2.66 percent growth for womenswear.
Sales growth in global menswear has been escalating since 1998 with a 70 percent surge, as stated by Fortune.
In order to remain competitive, today’s fashion-forward retailers are focusing more efforts on expanding their menswear selections so that it at least measures up to their women’s categories.
Business Insider recently ran a brief review of H&M’s retail store set up noticing that the quantity, prices, and quality of the men’s section were all comparable to the women’s section.
For today’s retailers, physical store expansions can pose a risk, especially with discussions of the “retail apocalypse” shuttering over 12,000 brick-and-mortar stores.
Despite this retail slump, menswear shops weren’t hesitant to open new store locations in Manhattan – a desirable location with escalating rent costs.
Last spring in April 2018, Nordstrom opened their first menswear-only store in NYC – a 47,000 square foot space entirely devoted to men’s apparel.
Additionally, Saks Fifth Avenue recently announced closing their women’s store in Brookfield Place in New York after discovering their female shoppers preferred the format of their Fifth Avenue flagship store.
Nonetheless, a spokesperson told Footwear News, “We have no plans to close our Brookfield Place men’s store.”
Aside from physical store expansions, online menswear stores found newfound growth during the holidays, especially after a record-breaking year of Cyber Monday sales released by Adobe Analytics.
Differio, an online-only trendy menswear store, recently reported a sales growth of 30 percent during the 2018 holiday season, surpassing sales expectations during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
While Cyber Monday plays a huge factor in driving sales, annual sales for online apparel and accessories for 2018 are expected to makeup “nearly 20 percent of total retail e-commerce sales,” according to eMarketer data released by CNBC.
On top of economic growth, the climate of men’s apparel is shifting towards one that’s much more casual and trendy than what was popular roughly twenty years ago.
Sales in traditional workwear has declined with tie sales reaching $1.8 billion in 1995, which ultimately dropped to $418 million in 2009, according to research by NPD Group released by the New York Post.
Today’s male shoppers are seeking out less traditional workwear, even ditching the work tie altogether.
Federica Levato, a partner at Bain & Company, explains to Quartz, “We have seen growth in casual apparel…the trend of ‘casualization’ of the dress code in many companies that were traditionally more formal…”
As a result, stylish-casual clothing with streetwear and athleisure influences are becoming the popular choice for men of all ages, which could also correlate with success of trend-focused menswear stores this season.