NEW YORK: Luxury menswear has traditionally lagged behind womenswear, but that is already beginning to change as social media platforms encourage men to try out luxury clothing in new and innovate ways, industry experts have said.

Alexa Tonner, Co-Founder of Collectively, an influencer marketing firm based in San Francisco, told Digiday that Instagram and similar photo-sharing apps have drawn in male consumers who would not typically bother with fashion magazines.

"Men who would have never bought an issue of GQ or Esquire are much more comfortable following style influencers on Instagram," she said.

"Fashion magazines present a pretty rigid perspective on men's style, and you've got a lot more variety on social media. Even in the luxury space, you've got bespoke tailoring and vintage timepieces, plus you've got limited edition streetwear."

Another benefit of social media platforms, she added, is that they help to cultivate a sense of immediacy, which has given a boost to the luxury casualwear market.

"Social media rewards impact and immediacy which serves the world of higher end streetwear really well," she said. "Traditional luxury is more understated and also requires patience: you've got to go to the tailor and then you've got to wait for that bespoke suit."

Jonathan Feinberg, Retail and Fashion Merchandiser at Givenchy in New York, agreed that casualwear is the main beneficiary of the growing luxury menswear market.

"While the market is opening up, it's opening up to the casual side. The way men are actually dressing – especially if they’re spending time in tech start-ups or professional environments outside of New York City – is sneakers, backpacks, T-shirts and sweatshirts," he said.

According to Edited, a retail analytics firm, the menswear market is expected to grow at a faster rate than womenswear over the next three years and it is on course to be worth $33bn by 2020.

Tammy Smulders, Global Managing Director of Havas LuxHub in London, predicted that budgets for advertising and influencer marketing will increase in line with this growing market.

"Once the market for men's really started to take off, men's brands started to invest more in advertising and department stores increased their square footage in menswear departments, increasing the visibility of menswear brands," she said.

"Men, in turn, have responded by purchasing more fashionable clothing, and brands have further increased investment in the category."

Data sourced from Digiday; additional content by WARC staff