The rise in weddings in 2021 has been a boon to wedding dress sales. Costumes also saw a surge in sales.
Brands that focus on men’s suits like Suitsupply and Sene saw significant growth in 2021. Sene tripled its quarterly revenue from the first quarter of 2021 to the fourth quarter. In January 2022, Indochino reported that 42% of its in-store appointments were wedding-related, reflecting higher and earlier demand than it typically sees for wedding suits compared to previous years. according to Dean Handspiker, vice president of retail at Indochino.
While many men typically rent suits for weddings or similar formal events, the wave of weddings that have happened in rapid succession over the past year has pushed more of a purchase. When you have several official events in a short period of time, costumes have a lower cost per garment and become a better financial choice than renting. The average tuxedo rental at The Black Tux is around $100. A tuxedo from Indochino costs $319. The Knot estimates there will be almost half a million more weddings in 2022 than in 2019.
In terms of sources, there are relatively few menswear rental options. Even The Black Tux, with its average annual turnover in the tens of millions, is dwarfed by female options on billion-dollar e-commerce platform Rent the Runway. During 2021, several menswear-focused rental companies like Seasons and The Rotation closed due to a pandemic-influenced lack of business, as well as some menswear brands like Brooks Brothers. And men’s and women’s rental companies cited pressure on inventory throughout 2021, due to supply chain issues. Those including Rent the Runway and Hurr have added resale options in 2021.
“Rental makes a lot more sense for women’s formal wear than for men’s,” said Ray Li, CEO of Sene. “Men can wear the same suit to many events whereas in womenswear I think you’re expected to wear something different. So given the lower cost per garment for men, I don’t am not very optimistic about the prospects for costume rentals.
The purchase of men’s suits has recovered considerably over the past year. From a low of $14 billion in sales in the United States in 2020, sales of men’s suits jumped to $16 billion in 2021. They are now expected to reach $17 billion in 2022, according to Statista.
According to Suitsupply CEO Fokke de Jong, weddings are a big part of the growth of suits. But the way men shop for suits is different in the wake of the pandemic, even as overall sales increase. For example, de Jong said that in 2021, men are turning more to SuitSupply’s off-the-shelf suits rather than bespoke suits to be ready for events that might have been rescheduled on short notice.
“The marriage boom is very noticeable,” de Jong said. While Suitsupply lost up to 40% of its sales in 2020, 2021 saw the company return to pre-pandemic revenue levels.
Li said Sene has also noticed a change in what customers are looking for when shopping for costumes.
“We’ve benefited a lot from changing comfort standards due to the pandemic,” Li said. “People expect a lot more comfort, even with their suits on. And because ours are made from athleisure materials instead of wool, we’re at the intersection of the fit and comfort many men crave.