What you need to know

Sales of underwear grew by only 2.2% in 2016 to reach £2.9 billion as the sector remains very price sensitive. Low price remains high up the list of priorities when buying underwear and growth is held back by high levels of replacement buying.

Men are driving growth in the underwear market, with value sales of men’s underwear growing at a faster rate than women’s. The shift in purchasing habits is happening as men are taking greater interest in their appearance and are now more inclined than women to see the latest fashion as an important factor when buying underwear. Among the brands driving growth in the market is Calvin Klein with its Justin Bieber campaign, as well as brands such as Aerie entering the men’s underwear sector.

The athleisure trend is driving demand for sports bras and more sporty styles of underwear, with more retailers expanding into this sector.

Consumers are most interested in underwear that feels more comfortable and innovations in softer wire and fabrics that are odourless, seamless and moisture-wicking will help shake up the market.

Products covered in this Report

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

The product groups covered include:

  • Women’s lingerie – including bras, briefs and other items – and hosiery and socks.

  • Men’s underwear – including briefs, boxers, vests and other items – and socks.

  • Nightwear, loungewear and children’s underwear, nightwear and hosiery are excluded.

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