New and existing players’ increasing focus on the segment has made the intimates and lingerie category a $250 billion global business. As per a Glossy report, the category has undergone radical transformation over the last decade. It now focuses on body positivity and size inclusively as against earlier when lingerie targeted specific body types.
While Victoria’s Secret continues to be popular, other brands such as Parade are finding favor with customers by focusing on real people rather than aspirational role models, says Andre Artacho, Managing Director, Two Nil a growth consultancy.
New and old brands venture into underwear
Adidas, which earlier sold men’s underwear only in the US, recently collaborated with Israeli textile manufacturer Delta Galil to sell both men’s and women’s underwear on a global scale. Henceforth, Delta Galil will manufacture and distribute all underwear products launched by Adidas. To compete with other players such as Aerie, Victoria’s Secret and Lively, the company will also manufacture bras and bottoms, says Victoria Vandagriff, President, Delta Galil-Brands Division.
Adidas will sell this collection under two labels: the Badge of Sport line, which uses athletic silhouettes and performance materials; and Adidas Originals, the brand’s more streetwear and fashion-focused line. Both ranges will be sold through the brand’s DTC channels and department stores. Adidas will also sell the Badge of Sport line at sporting goods stores like Champs and Dick’s Sporting Goods, while the Originals line will be distributed at select fashion retailers.
According to Vandagriff, underwear buyers primarily focus on garment comfort, as seen from the growth in sales of bralettes, wire-free bras and seamless garments in the last six months. As per latest data from retail analytics platform Edited, while sales of triangle bralettes grew by 120 per cent between December and February, sales of sports bras and stretch material underwear boomed 382 per cent within the same timeframe.
A lot of new brands have entered the underwear market in the last few years, says Vandagriff. Most notable amongst these is Aerie whose revenues grew 89 per cent to nearly $300 million in the first quarter. DTC brands including Parade and Lively have also grown in importance. While Parade’s revenues grew to $10 million in first year of operations, intimates manufacturer Gelmart sold its first incubated brand Lively for $85 million in 2019.
Consumer’s attitude towards underwear has changed over the years. From something they wore for others, it has become a piece of garment they wear for themselves, adds Vandagraff. Victoria’s Secret too has introduced a new rebranding strategy focusing on body inclusivity and gender neutrality. The brand aims to evolve with changing underwear market to regain past glory.