Storming a female bastion: Men race to match women in online fashion shopping

By Nivedita

New Delhi–This is one area where the gender gap may be closing. Women are considered avid online shoppers but men are now giving them stiff competition in the apparel categories and taking the lead in foot-wear and accessories.

“Over the years, we are seeing the otherwise active e-com shopper — who is male — foraying more and more into fashion online. Market size of both men’s and women’s clothing online is at neck and neck now. However, in terms of footwear and accessories, men’s market online is far ahead,” Rishi Vasudev, Vice President (Fashion, Home and Furniture) at Flipkart, told IANS.

According to Vasudev, men’s footwear was the highest e-commerce penetrated fashion category and was expected to grow the fastest in the next two years with an online penetration close to 18 per cent (while clothing will be in the 5-6 per cent range).

He says that with men’s footwear exploding in the next few years, Flipkart was poised to take up a large share of this market, close to 45 per cent.

A report by Boston Consulting Group says that between 55 and 60 million consumers are currently buying fashion products online, with the market becoming bigger. Male fashion buying is expected to give an extra fillip to this growth.

According to Kabir Mehra, co-founder of Herringbone & Sui — a brand that creates made-to-measure suits and Indian formal wear — with more men likely to shop online as opposed to in brick and mortar shops, there was an increase in portals introducing menswear to engage with this growing clientele.

Men’s fashion: Designed by Krishna Mehta

“As a trend men are more likely to shop on occasions, as opposed to indulging in the activity as leisure. They are also shoppers of habit and tend to research thoroughly on any expenditure they make when it comes to luxury ensembles. Given this, the online landscape has drastically changed,” Mehra told IANS.

Another trend in India is women tend to shop for their partners or male family members and find it a task to get them to come out and shop, hence they end up finding the e-retail platform convenient.

“They can simply share link of what they think is a good purchase and all the men need to do is check this on their phones, thereby making the process quicker,” added Samarth Hegde the other co-founder of Herringbone & Sui.

Arun Sirdeshmukh, Head of Amazon Fashion says that they had witnessed an almost 100 per cent growth in menswear category from 2015 to 2017 and that’s why they were tapping the market with new innovations and developments.

“With the growing appetite for up-to-date trends, men are getting increasingly fashion forward,” he said.

Men are very confident to buy online as they know what they want and shop directly for these products and that is the reason their visits to online shopping had increased, feels Samantha Chilton, Head of Design at KOOVS.COM.

“Online shopping is now making men more trend-aware as it enables brands to showcase looks and help men to evolve their look,” Chilton told IANS adding that Koovs menswear had grown consistently since its launch in 2014 to 40 per cent of their sales now.

Obviously, men no longer feel shy in storming a female bastion.

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