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Sharp-dressed men? How Aussie blokes feel about fashion and clothes shopping

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2013 (n=9,432) and January-December 2016 (n=6,163). Base: Australian men 14+

The fact that Australian women are much more likely than Australian men to shop for clothes in any given four-week period will come as little surprise to readers: the fashion industry is firmly female focused, after all. Somewhat less expected, perhaps, is the fact that more than four in every 10 Aussie blokes agree that they ‘try to look stylish’—a figure that nudges 60% among those aged under 25 years. Roy Morgan reveals all about the country’s sartorially inclined gentlemen…

Last year, 38.7% of Aussie men aged 14+ (or nearly 3.8 million men) bought clothing in an average four weeks, up from 36.6% (3.4 million) in 2012. There has also been a slight increase in the proportion of men who say they ‘try to look stylish’, from 39.6% in 2012 to 40.8% in 2016. Among younger men (under 25), the desire to look stylish is much more widespread at 57.8% (up from 50.7% in 2012).

While these figures are relatively low compared to the 66.0% of women who buy clothes in an average four weeks, and the 62.8% who try to look stylish, they still represent a sizeable market for fashion retailers. Put it this way: the average amount spent by male clothes shoppers in an average four weeks is $164 each … or about $617 million collectively.

Australian men and clothes shopping: 2012 vs 2016

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2013 (n=9,432) and January-December 2016 (n=6,163). Base: Australian men 14+ (NB: * Australian men 14+ who bought clothes in last 4 weeks)

The biggest spenders are men aged between 35 and 49, who shell out an average $181 each on clothes, followed by the 25-34 bracket ($171) and 50-64 year-olds ($160). Those aged under 25 spend an average $156, with the 65+ group’s average four-weekly clothing spend being the lowest at $140.  All except the youngest age group now spend more compared to four years ago.

But while the average amount Australian men spend on clothes in any given four week period may have increased, less of them are enjoying the experience. Just 23.0% agree with the statement, ‘I enjoy clothes shopping’, compared with 26.2% in 2012. This decline is evident across most age groups, with 25-34 year-olds (down from 35.5% to 29.0%) and 50-64 year-olds (down from 19.0% to 14.7% respectively) showing the greatest loss of enthusiasm.

In the ever-competitive world of fashion retail, this is definitely something for men’s clothing stores to be aware of…

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Roy Morgan data confirms what we all suspected: Australian women are much more likely than men not only to go shopping for clothes in an average four-week period, but to enjoy it. They’re also more concerned with looking fashionable and/or stylish. But as mentioned, the proportion of Aussie men shopping for clothes has risen since 2012, as has the proportion trying to look stylish (albeit only slightly).

“With the influx of international fashion retailers into the local market over the last few years, men’s clothing stores are under just as much pressure as women’s boutiques to remain competitive. To do this, it’s crucial to understand how Aussie men feel about clothes shopping, and how this can differ depending on their age (as we have seen), socio-economic circumstances or even marital status.

“Yes, that’s right: single men are more likely than their coupled-up counterparts (whether married or de facto) to agree that they try to look stylish, that it’s important to look fashionable and that they’re ‘born to shop’! It seems that once a fellow settles down with his partner, he no longer feels the need to worry about such matters…

“Of course, Roy Morgan Single Source also contains insights into the shopping habits and attitudes of different stores’ customers, as well as which stores attract the most male shoppers, and so much more: all of which can help brands and retailers reach the consumers most receptive to their particular offering...”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%