Men spend fourth fifths of their annual online spend on fashion, research finds


Men spend over three quarters of their average annual online spend on fashion, according to new research from Rakuten LinkShare.

While Ofcom estimates UK consumers spend an average of £1,083 each year online, Rakuten LinkShare’s research reveals nearly one in four 26-35 year old men spends at least £900 per year on clothing online (24%), the equivalent of 83% of their annual online spend.

British men are bypassing the high street

Highlighting the importance of mobile and digital channels, findings also reveal only 8% of young men in the UK prefer to shop for fashion on the high street and this year they will be looking to purchase from fashion brands online, according to researchers. In fact, over half of men surveyed (61%) would be disappointed if a luxury brand did not have an online offering.

Manly mobile apps

Findings also reveal this digitally savvy generation of male shoppers use mobile apps to support their purchase decisions, with over half having dedicated shopping apps installed on their handsets. Cash-back apps were most popular, with over a quarter of men under the age of 45 using one. A fifth (20%) of men aged 18-35 have a barcode scanner app, supporting the growing trend for showrooming, where shoppers research in store and make a final purchase online. Nearly a fifth of men in this age bracket also use dedicated shop apps from specific brands (16%) and nearly one in five 26-35 year olds use QR code apps (19%).

Male shoppers search the web looking for good value

It’s not just apps influencing purchases either, researchers found. Voucher codes offering discounts are also hugely popular with young male shoppers, over half of them state vouchers are an incentive to buy. Free delivery is also a huge driver, with nearly a quarter of shoppers saying that paying for postage and packaging is their biggest bugbear. In fact, a significant 42% of young men state they would be encouraged to buy if targeted with an ad that gave free delivery or a discount.

Younger shoppers are looking for guidance in their fashion choices

With more choice online than ever before, younger male shoppers in the 18-25 age bracket are also looking for guidance when they reach a brand’s website on what to buy. Nearly half of young men admit they feel overwhelmed and don’t know what suits them when shopping online (48%). As ever, friends and family continue to be a major influence with 36 percent of 18-25 year olds actively seeking peer and family opinions before purchasing. In fact over a fifth (21%) look to social networks for inspiration and one in five young shoppers use lifestyle blogs to learn about the latest fashions.

A timely offer appeals to young shoppers

Research shows there is a huge opportunity for brands to incentivise purchases with this audience, over a third of 18-25 year olds browse regularly online and would be tempted to buy if presented with a timely offer. Furthermore these shoppers are more likely than any other age group to buy based on their previous purchases (16%) and are more influenced by product reviews than other age groups (8%), report researchers. As a result, research suggests engaging with this group directly and highlighting products that may appeal could be a powerful trigger to purchase.

Mark Haviland, managing director of Rakuten LinkShare, said: “Men’s fashion online is big business and brands shouldn’t underestimate the power of the digital channel to influence this market. Men have cash to splash online and their smart phones and apps are an essential part of this retail journey. By adapting to an omnichannel strategy, fashion brands have a far greater chance to make an impact and drive sales with this key audience.”