Fast fashion is a huge industry built around the concept of reproducing the season’s hottest trends as quickly and as cheaply as possible, and getting them to market. The focus is on speed and profit, not necessarily quality. And the target audience is, by and large, women.
Uniqlo is a growing global fast-fashion brand, but it takes a different tack. Quality is a selling point, just as much as price (their website currently features shirts made from 100% premium French linen), and their target market is young men.
And they know their target market very well.
What keeps Uniqlo’s male consumers coming back is the svelte silhouettes of shirts. As Laura Gurski, a partner at A.T. Kearney retail consultancy told Business Insider, “The company has realized that a significant segment of men don’t want to wear a shirt that makes them look like a box; they want fitted clothes.”
This epiphany didn’t strike out of nowhere – Uniqlo has done extensive research on what male shoppers want to wear.
This company is deeply committed to understanding its customers, and they are well aware that half of those customers (exactly half – 50%) are Millennial men.
Uniqlo has taken over the Fast Fashion market in China, South Korea and Southeast Asia and is spreading West. After successfully dipping a toe in the Toronto market, the brand has its sights set on the U.S.
And that means it needs to get to know a whole new customer: The Fast Fashion Male Consumer.
Meet the Fast Fashion Male Consumer
We defined this segment by identifying men who are interested in top fast fashion brands like Zara, H&M and Topman. From that foundation, we found:
He’s young – between 18 and 34 - probably single, with no children.
He enjoys parties, identifies as a “hardcore gamer,” is very tech-savvy and would rather be outdoors than inside if given a choice. On a weekend, you’ll be just as likely to find him playing sports games on his Playstation as playing paintball or tennis.
He’s also interested in cultural events like Tomorrow World, an electronic music festival in Georgia, Queen of the Night, a piece of experimental immersive theater, and Broadway Across America.
Yes, these gentlemen have hidden depths. But when it comes to what they wear, they are simple souls.
They follow the trends.
By following fashion websites, magazines and models, this demographic knows what’s in and wears it. They’re not trailblazers. They do not follow the road less traveled. Which means when you want to appeal to them, you need to understand what’s trending.
Interestingly, there are some notable differences between Uniqlo’s male consumer base and fashion competitors like Zara. In the last quarter, Uniqlo’s audience had more interest in athletic apparel, and in general they 3 times more interested in arts and design than Zara’s male audience. Zara’s male consumers, on the other hand, showed more interest in accessories in the last quarter, and in general, are more interested in games and entertainment than art.
Those differences may be attributed to different cultures and geographic locations since Uniqlo hasn’t quite gained a foothold in the U.S. as Zara has. Understanding American millennial males may be why Uniqlo is seeking a creative agency partner in the U.S.
And if you’re interested in the job, we have a new Pitch Brief just for you.
Learn more about fast fashion, Uniqlo and the male fast fashion consumer here!