In 2009, global revenue in the industry decreased to approximately 29 billion US dollars, or by almost 3% compared to 2008. Due to the slow growth rate observed in traditional western markets, producers now focus on emerging markets, amongst others Russia and Asia. Double digit growth rates are expected for both China and India in underwear sales over the next few years.
Underwear producers build on increasing their presence
A detailed account of international trends in the underwear industry is provided in the “Global Underwear Market Report 2010“ by yStats.com. In 2009, the men’s underwear segment experienced the strongest growth rate in the U.S. clothing industry at 11%. Victoria’s Secret announced in April 2010 its long-awaited expansion to Canada. Supermarket chains in Great Britain, in particular Asda and Tesco, are increasing competition for traditional specialized retailers. As highlighted in the yStats.com report, the German underwear industry landscape will also change dramatically: as large department stores and specialized retailers are becoming less and less popular, underwear chains and producers aim to close this gap by opening their own outlets. Austrian company Palmers, for example, seeks to increase its presence in Germany over the long term from 17 to 100 locations and Lascana – the underwear label launched by OTTO Group – plans to open 100 shops by the end of 2010. In France underwear sales declined by 5% in 2009, while women between the ages of 45 and 54 spent on average 109€/year on lingerie. Wolford AG, the industry leader in Austria, generated an estimated 150 million € in revenue in 2009. A growth rate of 13% was recorded for female underwear sales over the last few years in the quality, label and fashion focused market of Italy, and this trend is expected to continue.
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