Meet fashion's new super-consumer: The Vetrosexual

He's into fashion, grooming and going to the gym. But unlike his older brother, the metrosexual, he's into family, friends and housework too. Meet the Vetrosexual.

He's into fashion, grooming and going to the gym.

But unlike his older brother, the metrosexual, he's into family, friends and housework too.

Meet the vetrosexual: the 25 to 34-year-old super-consumer who - according to research by Nottingham Trent University - is expected to drive spending on menswear for years to come.

The male shopper profile is the result of a study which found that the metrosexual has evolved into an even more image and health conscious male whose primary concern is staying young.

"By researching current consumer habits we quickly realised that this generation of men no longer fits the profile of the metrosexual or the traditionally masculine retrosexual," said Daniel Easters, a Senior Lecturer in Fashion Marketing Management at the University's School of Art & Design, who oversaw the study.

"Society's perception of masculinity has changed, which has caused more men in this age bracket to be interested in fashion and their appearance.

"Today's consumer has a unique set of social, cultural and economic forces shaping his behaviour and, like the metrosexual, he does not want to resemble his father.

"It's crucial for retailers to understand this customer's needs in order to develop the right products, identify the correct marketing and create the right in-store environment for businesses to flourish."

The study – published in an academic book, The Vetrosexual - Fashion's Most Important New Shopper, by Laurence Ajimal, a Fashion Marketing Management and Communication graduate from the University and Mr Easters, is based on interviews with 88 men aged 25 to 34 in the UK, and menswear buyers and merchandisers at five fashion retailers.

It found that this male's pursuit of style is linked with Charles Darwin's survival of the fittest, as 80% of the respondents said that clothing was important to them in trying to attract a sexual partner.

By contrast to stereotypical males, the vetrosexual has been found to enjoy shopping, especially bargain hunting. And because of the global recession, he has more disposable cash available to spend on clothes as he is more likely to live at home with his parents.

Up to 85% of vetrosexuals are unmarried, according to the study, and half of the men surveyed said that being single with no dependents allowed them to 'be more selfish' with their pursuit of personal aspirations.

The study established four types of vetrosexual to reflect the different segments between metrosexual and retrosexual. They are:

The Self-Assured Trend-Setter: Highly fashion conscious with a strong sense of style, the Self-Assured Trend-Setter loves to shop for clothes on and offline. He's an early adopter of trends, enjoys taking risks and is confident enough to face the 'laugh test' from his peers in the knowledge they'll soon catch the trend too.

His hair and body shape are important to him, and his grooming routine aims to make him look young and fresh. He appreciates good quality clothing and loves to bag a bargain on eBay as he enjoys the competiveness of getting the best price online.

Family plays a large part in his world, even if he is without children, as he sees this as the normal expectation in today's society.

Sport is also a big part in his life. He enjoys running and being part of a sports team to remain competitive. It's one of his prime activities away from the home and helps fuel his masculinity.

The Fashion Unconcerned: With a mid-to-high fashion consciousness, the Fashion Unconcerned is interested in looking good without generally following trends.

He takes pride in his appearance and only ever adopts trends once others have adopted them first, but they have to suit his own style.

Facial hair is important to him and he likes to experiment with his own image. A regular shopper online and in store, he prefers to pay a competitive price but he'll happily spend more on quality. 

He enjoys going for the odd spa or massage with his partner, and he tends to go out drinking less than in his younger years. Watching and playing sports are part of a social life with his peers. 

He plays an active role in his home life, whether or not he still lives with his parents. Washing, cooking and cleaning are part of his everyday life and he plays an active part in his children's lives as a priority.

The Alright Jacks: He may be a reluctant shopper, but the Alright Jack has a sense of style and wants to look good.

He likes comfortable, casual clothes and has a low to middle fashion consciousness. He looks to brands to offer him guidance on fashion, and is very brand loyal.

Purchases can be made on impulse in store, but he's also happy to invest time in order to buy the right product.

Being fit and healthy is important to him because of media pressure.

He has many personal aspirations and values the company of his peers, especially with weekends away with his friends.

He would happily be a stay-at-home dad if his partner had enough earning capacity to allow it.

The Uber Masculine Sloppy Joe: With a low fashion-consciousness, the Uber Masculine Sloppy Joe displays some pleasure in looking and feeling good.

He usually only shops when his clothes are worn out and need replacing. He doesn't mind paying a little more if he knows that the product will last longer, but he likes to get the basics as cheap as possible.

He has no interest in brands and will only try new shops on the recommendation of his peers.

He has a simple and easy style which gives him confidence. He values playing an equal role in the home with his partner, especially in the upbringing of their children.

He uses grooming products primarily to help counteract aging, with a focus on his teeth and receding hairline.

Miss Ajimal, who worked on the study as part of her course, said: "In the past, retailers have focussed too heavily on the two extremes of retrosexual and metrosexual. But there are many shades of grey in between.

"What this study shows is that the modern man's buying habits have changed, as has the importance to them of style.

"We now see consumers who are much more concerned about their appearance which is related to the need for them to secure the right sexual partner.

"The more that fashion professionals understand about what makes these men tick, the more they can ensure the industry is providing the right goods to the right people in the right way."

Meet fashion's new super-consumer: The Vetrosexual

Published on 29 July 2015
  • Category: Research; School of Art & Design

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