Victoria’s Secret may be the most popular lingerie brand, but it is by no means the only player in the ever-growing industry of women’s intimate wear. According to market research firm Ibis World, women’s lingerie is a $13 billion industry growing at a rate of 3.3 percent each year. It comprises the majority of the global underwear market that is estimated to amount up to $26 billion.
The latest report from Fashionbi states that the United States still represents the largest market share in North America, while both Germany and Italy achieved the highest growth in Europe. Thanks to growing support from the luxury sector, as well as emerging markets and new trends like shape wear, sleepwear, and eco-friendly intimates, the growth of the women’s lingerie market does not seem to have any end in sight.
No wonder many startups are entering the lucrative industry, especially via e-commerce. The best thing about these brands is their creative and innovative approaches to win over consumers. For instance, San Francisco startup True&Co is one of the most buzzed-about small lingerie manufacturer, thanks to its reliance on data science that matches customers with the right bra. Customers are asked to answer a two-minute quiz for the company to figure out the most suitable bras that they can present to the customers for their evaluation.
While there are companies like True&Co that make use of data to sell underwear, there are also those that take a different approach. An example is Negative, a minimalist line of bras designed to give women the “most essential fit,” according to co-founder Marissa Vosper. “We wanted something that was unmolded—no ruffles, no ribbons. The kind of thing you could wear every day and just forget about,” she said. The result is an edgy aesthetic without itchy tags and slip-sliding straps that prioritizes comfort above all else.
And then there are also the ones that focus on both comfort and luxury, like Naked Brand Group Inc., which recently released its first ever set of women’s underwear collections at its New York headquarters. Naked Brand’s Spring 2016 women’s collection builds on the strong foundation of Naked Brand’s men’s collections and encompasses sleepwear, loungewear, and intimates. The initial launch included the Essential, Luxury, and Tencel lines—all patterned after the bestselling men’s underwear collections that Naked Brand has been known for.
Naked Brand‘s CEO Carole Hochman said that the release of the new women’s collection is a key step in the brand’s strategic growth plan. “As a brand, we celebrate the success and authenticity of empowered men and women by providing inner fashion that is a delight to wear, looks amazing on, and is designed to perform and keep pace with today’s dynamic lifestyle,” she said.
With many women’s underwear brands diversifying into other apparel like shapewear and activewear, they get the chance to connect with more consumers and cater to the needs that are being overlooked by big brands.
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