In an age of diversity, the lingerie industry is seeing a major shift in consumer taste. Gone are the days when lingerie was a personal affair.
We’re seeing new brands introduce new additions that diversify our undie drawers - beginning with bras and briefs that actually fit properly without causing any chafing.
A new breed of alternative undies
Last year, we found out that legacy does not guarantee success. Victoria’s Secret didn’t get the push up they need as sales were down by 5% in December due to struggling lingerie and their Pink business.
While lingerie is often linked with flirty and seducing silhouettes, there’s a need for real action to reflect the wider industry demands for more diverse offering of shapes, sizes and colors. Brands such as Lively, THINX and Everlane are thriving. They are changing the narrative of what sexy means today, by producing items that deliver style and comfort for girls and women of all sizes.
Consumers want functional and comfortable apparel. Lightly lined wireless bras and lace triangle bralettes remain popular to the masses. We saw a 14% sell out growth in wireless bras last year, compared to a 10% growth in push-ups!
It’s not just local growth. The need for comfort is global. Sales of wireless bras are up 70% in China, according to CBNData and Tmall, with the majority of the growth driven by younger consumers.
Sustainability is making an honest dollar out of people. Everlane, the no-nonsense ethical brand, reaches out to the modern generation. In a letter to its customers, the company addressed the fact that "underwear should be made for you. But for decades, it’s been designed with someone else in mind."
Can I get a hallelujah? Now, customers can shop a collection of sustainable styles from boxers, briefs and bodysuits.
Reformation is having a go, too, expanding into a range of new categories. Last year, they launched their first sustainable underwear collection in the US, starting with a capsule of bras, bralettes and underwear made from Lenzing Tencel, recycled lace and eco mesh.
There’s still an enormous amount of hard work to be done in the lingerie market. Sustainable lingerie only makes up 2.4% of sustainable apparel assortment. This is a real oversight given that we wear these items everyday.
Need some more inspiration?
Send nudes please
Much like concealer, nude underwear can be a pain to shop for. We can often find ourselves stuck with a vague bisque color that seems to suit no one. Aerie is one of many leading the way. Their powerful body-diverse campaigns and commitment to service all skin tones is refreshing and empowering to all women.
In 2018, we saw a 52% increase in ‘nude’ or ‘skin tone’ shades in stock compared to 2016.
EDITED Tip: Log in here to see which other retailers have launched new nude collections.
US plus size
Alongside the hype around plus size activewear, intimates are having a moment too.
We’ve seen a 6% growth in plus size underwear in 2018. High leg and hipster briefs have proved to be most popular.
ASOS Curve lingerie range gives us life. Not only does it come in 8 skin tone ranges, but it also caters to sizes from US 40DD to 44L. Bravo ASOS Curve, bravo!
While Torrid and Lane Bryant dominate the market with top-selling styles such as no-show briefs, these undies have soft microfiber fabric that disappears under our garms.
Here’s what’s selling best:
Want to know more about plus size activewear? We’ve covered it here.
Shapewear is still strong
Looking at a selection of retailers over the last year, we can see that the number of new shapewear products have increased by 143% compared to 2017.
Favored styles are high waisted pants, control slips and pullovers with long sleeves (which are ideal for the mid and mature market who want arm support).
While ASOS Design opts for a contemporary twist, their sculpting body and shorts offer customers control underneath everyday apparel, without the traditional look of
The support doesn’t stop there. In November, tights brand Heist Studios unveiled their new shapewear called ‘The Outer Body’. Designed to support the body, it uses cutting edge fabrics that promote and enhance breathability.
When it comes to lingerie, customers want style and function without having to sacrifice comfort. Having an assortment that focuses on embracing body positivity will win you the hearts (and bums) of the new generation. Not only do consumers want to wear intimates that make them feel good, they want to do good to the environment too. That 2.4% isn’t going to grow itself.
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