Monday, 10 July 2017

Mintel Menswear Report 2017 - Older Men and Clothes Shopping

The Mintel Menswear Report 2017 was published recently and it covered some of the issues I write about here and elsewhere. The fashion industry tends to ignore the older man as a market, despite the size and affluence of the demographic. The report contains some interesting insights.

The report suggests that some older men aren't interested in buying clothes and I wonder if this is why brands don't think of them as a possible market. Why try to sell to a disinterested demographic? I think the situation is more complex. It's chicken and egg: I'm convinced that many older men show no interest in clothes shopping because the industry ignores them. If all a man sees is menswear adverts showing models in their twenties, they're going to assume that there's nothing there for them. The report shows that many older men say that advertising should reflect the age of the consumer.

Robert DeNiro in Zegna advertising

I know of no other market in which sales people don't attempt to sell to a fully accessible group simply because they think it won't buy from them. Some simple sales techniques could change all that. Businesses should show an interest in the older man; using older models would be a start. They don't need to worry that they'll have to start selling elastic-waisted trousers and Velcro-closure shoes to older men. If my postbag is anything to go by, there are many older men out there keen to show that style is not the preserve of the young. A little encouragement will go a long way.

There were a couple of surprises for me in the report. The high incidence of obesity (see below) among older men surprises me, but sadly it's a trend in all ages. The fact that 18% of men 55+ haven't bought clothes for themselves in the last 12 months is perhaps unsurprising given the point I've just made. I've little doubt that ageism lies behind the menswear industry's myopia, let's hope that changes soon.

I was pleased to see some mention of brands who've used older models (below).

Mark Hammill Rag & Bone Fall '17

Mintel have kindly sent me some relevant excerpts from their report and I quote what they sent me here in full:

"How can the sector encourage purchasing among older males?

The facts:

Older men aged 65+ stand out as being in the best financial situation, with 60% describing their finances as healthy.

The ONS [Office for National Statistics] predicts a 10.6% growth in the number of men aged 55 and above between 2016 and 2021.

Older men are more likely to need plus-sized clothing, with 79% of males aged 45-54 classified as overweight or obese.

The implications:

Older men aged 55+ remain the least keen clothes shoppers, with 18% not having bought clothes for themselves in the last 12 months. As the male population ages, retailers need to focus on encouraging older men to take a greater interest in their appearance and what they wear.

Men aged 55+ are most likely to shop at M&S, Primark and Asda. Older men shop around a lot less than younger men do and tend to be more brand loyal, shopping at one or two retailers in-store and one retailer online.

Older men see consistent sizes as the area they would most like improved at the retailers they shop at, with 39% of over-55s agreeing with this. Men who shop for clothes at M&S or Sainsbury’s are most interested in these retailers selling more consistent sizes across different brands and better fitting garments. 

Over three fifths (63%) of male shoppers agree that models in retailers’ ad campaigns should reflect the age of their customers, rising to almost seven in ten (68%) of Baby Boomers aged 52-70.

As Mintel’s Serving the Underserved identifies, consumers who have been underrepresented in the past are getting a greater voice. Several brands and retailers have been responding to this trend by using a more diverse range of models of different ages, sizes and ethnicities. Among those using older models in their menswear campaigns are Rag & Bone’s Fall 2017 imagery which starred 65-year-old Mark Hamill who is known for his role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films. Actor Robert De Niro is the face of designer menswear brand, Ermenegildo Zegna’s spring 2017 campaign, and Calvin Klein’s new underwear campaign which launched in March 2017 features the 43-year-old star of the Oscar-winning Moonlight film.

Further statistics:

27% of men aged 45+ said they would like to see higher quality clothes (stitching, fabric quality) in stores 

24% of men aged 45+ said they would like to see seasonal clothing that can be worn whatever the weather in stores 

17% of 45+ said they would like to see better fitting clothes in stores (eg that flatter your shape) 

15% of men aged 45-54 agree that social media sites are a good way of getting inspiration on which clothes to buy, as do 10% of those aged 55+ 

63% of male clothes-shoppers say that models in retailers’ advertising campaigns should reflect the age of their customers, rising to 72% of those aged 65+".

With many thanks to Mintel for these data.


Snapper said...

Grey Fox

Do you think that perhaps the younger generation, unlike older men, are out there trying to attract a mate, whilst many older men are married and therefore don't feel the need to dress to impress? Also, sadly, some older men have abdicated the responsibility of buying their clothes to their wife.

Best regards,

Grey Fox said...

Thank you Snapper - yes, absolutely I do agree. I've said many times before that some men give up after 40 because, perhaps, they are secure in job, with partner etc etc, but I also feel that this is compounded by the failure of the menswear industry to accept them as a possible market. This can only be ageism, as sales executives don't normally ignore potential markets so easily.

Sadly yes, also, too many leave it to the partner to dress them.

I'd like to convince (a) the menswear industry to market to our demographic seriously and (b) men in our demographic to stop messing around and wake up and smell the coffee. It's fun and is an ideal antidote to the ageing process. The well-dressed man received many compliments, as i'm sure you're aware, Snapper!


Simon Pearson said...

Even if many men leave their clothing choices to their partners, I have no doubt it would be a postive move for the industry to show older models in their clothing. At the very least it would give the partners some further inspiration for those Xmas and Birthday choices, and hopefully encourage a chap to take more interest in his appearance.


Grey Fox said...

Thank you, Simon. I agree completely.


Westdaw Menswear said...

Excellent article. I'm in the process of building a business around a non-age specific menswear shop (we've been open 7 months now), concentrating on style rather than fashion and stocking a range of brands so we're able to fit all-comers. We've had a steady stream of chaps between 30 and 80 who love what we do! I think the Independent Mens shop is easily overlooked but actually we fill exactly that gap because we have the expertise, knowledge and flexibilty.

Beeman said...

I can accept that many older men shop at M&S, but Primark and Asda? Surely not. And only M&S because it's so accessible compared to many places.
They have hit the nail on the head when they suggest that the older man is heavier, though to suggest we need plus sizes isn't quite right. We just don't need slim cut (you've suffered me on this hobby horse on several occasions before). I tried on a very nice Boss jacket only this afternoon, only to reject it because it pulled across my paunch. Fortunately they had another style in a more forgiving cut.
Jaeger and Austin Reed once catered for the middle aged and older man, but they went chasing the young and slim, and look what's happened to both of them.
Many of us don't want cheap, and don't want staid. We just want a good fit.

Hacking Andrew said...

I do wonder about the depth of the questioning. Why haven't 18% of olde men bought new clothes in the last year? One of the many joys of ageing is that one is free from the tyranny of fashion. One can focus on style and quality rather than bring pressured to replace your wardrobe every six months. You can buy shoes and suits that will last for years and look better with age. Rather like ourselves I hope.

Bazz said...

I'm 64 and my clothes are important to me . My spouse does not pick out my clothes. I might ask her opinion but I know absolutely what I'm after . I would think most guys my age are more able to afford high end clothes more so than we were younger . Enjoy your blog . Bazz

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I'm afraid for retailers and designers alike, they've been held hostage to the ( rather tired ) stereotype that having "old dudes" in their ads will be the KOD. ( Kiss OF DEATH! ) So they continue to market disposable clothing to 20-somethings at a fraction of what a more affluent and established demographic could easily afford.

To be honest, until I stumbled on the Gentlemen's Gazette and GFB, I'd pretty much given up myself! All U.S based retailers peddle is fast fashion to wannabe' 'hunks' whom haven't told ( they too.., are past their prime..! ) Nothing sadder than a divorced 40-something suburban dad still trying to 'rock' stone washed jeans and tee's with everything!? Beyond pathetic. Sorry dads.

So where does that leave gents of a, certain vintage? Here's my advice. Rather than getting her "the diamond she's always wanted!" ( gasps/fawns ) how about being the best dressed, and FITTEST guy in the room! Remember, you want to look sharp in those pictures of weddings, baptisms etc. And you know WHAT? I've found all those young 'hunky' ( chunky? ) 'studs' in their daring look just WILT when a properly and appropriately dressed older gentlemen enters the room. Suddenly they look like they belong at a BBQ.

Some of the younger guys are catching on. Hair starts thinning in the 20's, a paunch in their 30's and gray by their 40's. Trying to dress and act like you're still in your 20's just looks more desperate by the day. IMHO

Grey Fox said...

I received the following comment from Ian Stock but managed to delete it in error. I've been able to retrieve the content - many thanks Ian for an insightful thought. However, I wouldn't feel awkward about being 'overdressed' - it's when a man is dressed well that he receives positive comments and, from what you say it sounds as though you weren't overdressed, but the others underdressed:

Ian Stock has left a new comment on your post "Mintel Menswear Report 2017 - Older Men and Clothe...":

I think there's a cultural aspect to this too...unlike for example in Italy, clothing/appearance is still considered effete amongst many British men - except perhaps when you're at the girl-pulling stage. It's difficult to break - just this afternoon I went to a social event where I was the only man not in T shirt and shorts. I don't really care, but being over-dressed is still awkward and it depends on what others are wearing as well as one's own choices. Finally, the fact that so many good clothes are in extra slim fits is a major bugbear here too.

Geoff D said...

Interesting article, but just to mention that not all of us more mature chaps are overweight. As a fairly slim 54 year old (maintained by a lot of cycling and some care about what I eat, I find the lack of clothes below a 32" inch waist and a 38" jacket a real frustration. Sometimes this can lead to a tension: the clothes at Jack Wills fit, but are not really age appropriate. Many traditional suppliers don't do smaller sizes.

Rachel Moss said...

Great article and sad to see that men suffer the same nonsense that women do after a certain age with clothing manufacturers. I wonder what will happen when models such as David Gandy will do when he gets older and if they will (continue) to use him to appeal to an older market as he ages? Personally, I love to see men well dressed and love to see the confidence that they have stepped out and developed their own style! I don't dress my husband, but I do advise him when he asks. ( I am a style coach but I dont want to tell him how to dress-that would be so cliche!) In all cases, dress for yourself and overdress rather than under. You can always take something away from the outfit!

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