BBQ April with tools and bottle opener from PicnicTime

Gift Shop Plus Winter 2021
Distinctly Masculine By Debbie Eisele

Men’s gifts can appeal to all shoppers and capture sales for savvy retailers

Stylish yet durable men’s gifts are a great way to expand your customer reach and even add the scent of pine and cedar to your store. Men are proving to be discerning shoppers and catering to their wants and needs is a sure-fire way to cultivate a loyal following.


DM Merchandising said men’s gifts will have an emphasis on wellness and adventure. “With how complex the world is right now, these gifts need to bring a little fun to the storefront as well. Expect quality outerwear, stylized wellness accessories, sunglasses, and colorful swimwear to shine in the 2021 men’s gift market,” said the DM Merchandising team.

Men's Collection from Simply Southern
Men’s Collection from Simply Southern

According to Simply Southern, hats are hot sellers. “Our men’s hats have a very simple design and color pallet … guys can pair one hat with multiple wardrobes,” Jourdain Foster, sales manager for Simply Southern emphasized. She explained that simplicity and versatility are “in.”

Frontier Beanie and Gloves from DM Merchandising
Frontier Beanie and Gloves from DM Merchandising

“Utility inspired gifts for men” are also trending according to Foster. Simply Southern’s leather wallets and trays were well received and it has added to that collection for 2021. The key chain has been redesigned “to be practical yet functional.” Foster predicted this will be a category that continues to grow and will feature leather and a more industrial look. She also said high functionality in men’s apparel is also in demand.

Giving Socks from DEMDACO
Giving Socks from DEMDACO

As the men’s category expands in style, it too expands in terms of color Foster said. “This year bright colors are the trend for dress! A ‘neo-neon’ design is what we have seen on trend for spring, which is why you will see most of our men’s button downs are full of bright and vibrant colors,” she said. Colors in bright corals, blues, and lime greens are on tap.

Jacob Zepf, owner of Freehand Goods shared that leather goods and minimal designs are also popular. “Men are getting away from the huge, bifold wallets overstuffed with cards, receipts, bills, etc. that they don’t need everyday,” he said. He also noted that for apparel, comfort is just as important than the design itself.

Bifold Wallet available at Freehand Goods
Bifold Wallet from Freehand Goods

Freehand Goods noted nontraditional colors are popular for wallets. “Emerald, oxblood and navy have sold more than the traditional black, tan, natural color,” explained Zepf. “We’ve also started using wood accents in some of our products like our watch faces and knives that have been really well received.”

Men's Socks from LazyOne
Men’s Socks from LazyOne

Casual attire is also popular. “We saw a bump in all men’s pajamas and boxers, in part, because everyone was (and still is) working from home at higher rates than ever! I guess pajamas are the new dress code,” shared Travis Hoopes from LazyOne. Although Hoopes noted color and material trends are constantly evolving, LazyOne has seen cream as a very popular trend this year.

Men's Pajama Shorts from LazyOne
Men’s Pajama Shorts from LazyOne

Courtney Kline, director of product trend strategy for Primitives by Kathy, emphasized a wide range of sock styles are great options for any gift giving occasion. A distressed stonewashed look paired with “clever sentiments that send a fun message” is also on tap. Kline said that socks, hats and shirts — especially “soft poly/cotton blend t-shirt in a heathered gray” — are amongst the popular items for men’s gifts, along with humorous shirts that initiate conversation.

Men's shirts, socks and hats from Primitives by Kathy
T-shirts, hats and socks from Primitives by Kathy

DM Merchandising said not to overthink this category, instead remember: “Gifts are either useful and good quality, or fun and unique. If you can do both with one product, don’t hesitate to add it to your shelves.”

Optimum Optical Jetsetter Foldable Sunglasses from DM Merchandising
Optimum Optical Jetsetter Foldable Sunglasses from DM Merchandising


In light of the pandemic, the outdoors is now the “new” indoors where people gather. With that comes an opportunity to appeal to grill aficionados and those who enjoy drinkware/barware and food product categories.

BBQ Apron with tools and bottle opener from PicnicTime
BBQ Apron with tools and bottle opener from PicnicTime

Paul Caruso, owner of PicnicTime, noted gift trends are more item-based rather than experienced-based for 2021. “Many people have invested in upgrading their indoor/outdoor spaces…we see popular gifts being those that enhance those upgrades. Items like barbeque and bar accessories will most likely be hot items,” he shared.

Sidecar 5 Piece Bar Tool Set from PicnicTime
Sidecar 5 Piece Bar Tool Set from PicnicTime

He also expects an increase in gift products around beach visits and camping. “We foresee a continued focus on these activities, as they not only allow people an escape from the stresses of everyday life, but the ability to spend time with their loved ones as well. Picnic Baskets, portable coolers, outdoor games and outdoor camping furniture and accessories will be strong in 2021 and beyond,” he emphasized.

Growler Stand from PicnicTime
Growler Stand from PicnicTime

Primitives by Kathy noted that drinkware is very popular and it is debuting shot glasses with alcohol related sentiments. Kline said to watch for its new grilling and barbeque themed collection in 2021 that will include aprons, cutting boards, trays and more.

Margaux Maertens, communication specialist with Stonewall Kitchen said drink trollies, bar accessories and seasonal glassware are “selling fast.” In addition to home bar trends, Stonewall sees shoppers purchasing drink mixes, pickled vegetables and cocktail cherries.

New England BBQ Gift Set from Stonewall Kitchen
New England BBQ Gift Set from Stonewall Kitchen

“When thinking of gifts, focus on how to elevate the overall food and home experience with food products, it’s recreating a restaurant-quality experience/taste at home and making it very easy and accessible to do,” shared Maertens. “Incorporating useful tools with unique sauces and rubs have moved the sales dial for us,” she shared. Rubs are also extremely popular and Maertens’ favorite is the Texas Rub!


Be on the lookout for products that entice and inspire both masculine scents and soft skin — and appeal to the women in their lives!

Dionis Goat Milk Skincare men’s bath and body products performed well last year and continues to be successful. “Most recently we launched a hand and foot set geared toward fourth quarter gift giving,” Karen Minsky, director, sales and operations at Dionis. She said in 2021 Dionis will offer some exciting new items to complement the men’s bath and body lines.

Hand & Foot Set from Dionis Goat Milk Skincare
Hand & Foot Set from Dionis Goat Milk Skincare

Heather Swanepoel, founder of Rinse Bath & Body noted new trends in this category. “Clean and fresh scents are still huge for men but our more subtle scents in that category have become more popular. The other scent that is making a comeback especially this season is warm with a little bit of spicy,” she said. “We are seeing that men are turning to hand moisturizers more now than ever before because of the use of hand sanitizers.”


For men’s décor gift ideas run the gamut. Peter Friedman, vice president product development and creative services with DEMDACO said outdoor themes are strong as are items that offer light-hearted humor. He noted functional items such as frames “will be strong performers,” and when travel opens again, items such as dopp kits and travel accessories will be in demand.

Primitives by Kathy
Primitives by Kathy

Friedman emphasized general themes such as dad, grandfather, husband and inspiration will be key in 2021. “We also need to remember that products that reflect diversity — whether quotes, pride, support — will also increase,” he said. Materials used will reflect a contemporary feel and cane, wicker and wovens are popular as are stone and glass complemented with warm gold.

DEMDACO also indicated that 2021 will be a year of healing and sarcasm and “light-hearted humor will be incredibly important.”

Debbie Eisele

Debbie Eisele is the former managing editor for Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and a variety of special issue publications, including: The Guide, Holiday Shop, Celebrations & Occasions and Waterfront Living.

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