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Consumer Research


Lingerie is being taken more seriously

Lingerie is being taken more seriously

Wider availability of underwear at a range of different price points is likely to continue over the next  five years.

Whilst supermarkets are somewhat limited in the amount of space they dedicate to non-food items (before these start to threaten their own core activities), more lingerie will find its way onto the shelves.

Lingerie, a new Market Report from market intelligence providers Key Note, examines the market for lingerie, corsetry and hosiery in the UK, and identifies future market trends.

In recent years, the number and variety of retail channels at which women can buy underwear has risen enormously.

As well as a much improved product range from the major retailer, Marks & Spencer (which accounts for around 30 per cent of sales of women’s underwear), supermarkets have strengthened their hold in terms of the ranges they offer, and the high street generally has started to take lingerie seriously.

Fashion retailers, such as New Look, Next and Oasis, have put lingerie increasingly at the forefront of their strategies in terms of new product development and price positioning.

The discount retailers (Matalan, Primark and others) are also increasingly influential as well, and are also increasing pressure on the market for good-quality but, nevertheless, low-priced lingerie garments.

This has both broadened the choice for the consumer and raised the stakes in terms of competitive activity.

Both the lingerie and corsetry sectors performed strongly over the period from 2002 to 2006, with corsetry now being the largest sector, and also experiencing the highest rises in value.


The total UK lingerie market (including corsetry, lingerie and hosiery) was worth £2.48bn at retail selling prices (rsp) in 2006, representing an increase of 13.3 per cent from 2002.


However, the hosiery sector declined in value between 2002 and 2006, being impacted by the volume-led strategies of the supermarkets.

Similarly to the other market sectors, the hosiery sector has had to respond to the highly competitive performance on the part of the own-label segment.

Key Note’s report includes some of the findings of BMRB International’s 2006 Target Group Index (TGI) survey, with regard to consumers’ purchasing of lingerie and their use of hosiery items.

Whilst underwear is a basic requirement, the percentage of women who did not claim to have bought any underwear (i.e. bras, pants or other lingerie) in the 12 months prior to the 2006 survey was quite high – at 16.2 per cent for pants and 17.2 per cent for bras.

However, the fact that the statistics are lower than in 2004 suggests that, although there is still work to be done by the industry, volume growth is probably on the increase.

It appears that retailers are succeeding in encouraging shoppers to buy more items.


Key Note forecasts the total lingerie market will grow to around £2.9bn at rsp over the next five years (from 2007 to 2011).
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