Diversity is leading to a major shift in consumer taste within the lingerie industry. Consumers are looking for more options within the lingerie market, with interests more attuned to comfort and functionality. In this new consumer climate, lingerie brands are discovering flirty silhouettes are no longer a selling point - Victoria’s Secret experienced a five percent decrease in sales this past December due to struggling lingerie.
How can lingerie professionals shape up? EDITED has compiled the five key trends retailers should focus on to align lingerie offerings with current consumer tastes.
Shoppers were turning away from the legacy brand in favor of newcomers to the field with strong stances to change the narrative on lingerie to a more empowered message. Brands such as THINX with a mission to help women in developing countries, and Everlane, which promotes a body positive viewpoint, are finding success.
These brands are also discovering that women will pick comfort over sex appeal. That means wireless bras might be the way to go, as the item saw a 14 percent growth in sales last year. Its less comfortable sister, the push-up bra, only grew by 10 percent.
Regardless of what you’re selling, sustainability is the topic at the front of the consumer’s mind. Shoppers notice when brands take a stance on ethicality. Sustainable lingerie only makes up 2.4 percent of all sustainable apparel, EDITED discovered.
Reformation took note of this, as last year it launched its first underwear range made from sustainable materials such as tencel, recycled lace and eco mesh.
Speaking to its shoppers via email last year, Everlane wrote, “underwear should be made for you. But for decades, it’s been designed with someone else in mind.”
Consumers are looking for underwear that makes sense to them, and often that means bras in nude tones similar to their skin colors that don’t show underneath clothing. Retailers should focus on stocking nude underwear, but in a variety of shades that allow options for all diverse skin tones.
Last year saw a 52 percent increase in skin tone shades compared to 2016.
Much like “sustainability,” “size inclusivity” is a popular keyword. Brands like Universal Standard are bringing attention the apparel industry’s lack of sufficient size options for women. Lingerie will need to follow.
There was a 6 percent growth in plus size underwear in 2018, with the most popular fits being hipster briefs and high legs. Asos was a leader with this, as its Asos Curve lingerie collection included sizing from a 40DD to a 44L. Plus, it offered eight nude skin tone options.
An existing trend, consumers are still looking for shapewear. Favored items, like high waisted pants and control slips are still in high demand, with the number of items in the shapewear market experiencing growth of 143 percent in 2018 compared to the year before.
Photos: Pexels, Edited