This report analyses the UK lingerie market, which consists of the three main market sectors of corsetry, lingerie and hosiery, outlined in greater detail below. This consumer market covers women’s lingerie products, excluding men’s underwear and children’s underwear; lingerie caters to the adult female, although there is demand from teenage girls onwards for bras, thus there may be some overlap. Although some young girls and teenagers may make purchases from the lingerie retailers featured in this report, the focus of the report is on brands that appeal and target adult women as their primary demographic.
In terms of the target consumer audience for this marketplace, the wearer is the female adult - the main consumer. Nevertheless, there is a potential consumer base among male adults, who purchase lingerie items as gifts for women, particularly around the times of birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Lingerie is purchased for three main purposes: as a necessity for the majority of women in the UK; as a fashion statement, to be worn both as underwear and outerwear that follows the leading fashion trends of the season; and as a sexually appealing commodity worn by females for the purposes of sexual attraction and desire.
Corsetry includes bras, suspenders and upper-body shapewear, including the likes of corsets, basques, waist cinchers and waspies. The purpose and designs of items in this category are increasingly diverse and can be subdivided further into the following subsectors:
- Bras - these are essential commodities for the majority of women from teenage years onwards, while also being items of sexual attraction; to this end, bras have both a practical, necessary function and a use as fashion and/ or sexual accessories. Practical bra items have developed and expanded with technology over the years and can include t-shirt bras and strapless bras, as well as bras designed specifically for wear under certain clothing; as fashion trends and styles have evolved, the need for innovation in bra styles is broadening the range of products, including the likes of the stick-on bra. Some bras are designed for non-fashion, non-sexual purposes, yet have a very specific function, including the likes of maternity bras, mastectomy bras, nursing bras and sports bras.
- Suspenders - used to hold up stockings, suspenders or suspender belts were once deemed a functional commodity, yet with tights being more practical than stockings for everyday womenswear, suspenders are now much more commonly worn as risqué, sexy underwear items, popularised by burlesque trends.
- Upper-body shapewear - this includes corsets, basques, girdles, waist cinchers and waspies. These are traditionally associated with 1950s lingerie styles, representing a period when more women had the hourglass figure associated with wearing a corset; however, the likes of corsets have become increasingly popular in recent years. Corsets and basques are now chosen more as a sexy, risqué lingerie item, being largely impractical to modern women of today. Burlesque performers and the style of lingerie they wear, which consists largely of corsets and basques, have become more mainstream in recent years, partly through the popularity of Dita Von Teese, the burlesque dancer-come-celebrity who has her own corsetry collection in the marketplace. Corsets and corset-style tops are also worn as fashion outerwear, owing to their flattering, shape-defining capabilities; the underwear as outerwear fashion trend is creating more demand for this, while the trend for sexy, more daring lingerie items is seeing more women invest in this style of underwear. Furthermore, the shape-defining qualities make the products popular to wear under certain items of clothing
Lingerie also includes many different product types including:
- Knickers - there are many different styles including briefs, thongs, high-waist pants and French knickers; knickers are often bought to match a bra to create a set, yet women will often have many more pairs of pants than they will bras and other lingerie items.
- Traditional underwear and nightwear items - this includes the likes of nightdresses, vests, camisoles, negligees and dressing gowns, worn for both practical and aesthetic reasons. More daring yet popular underwear choices include teddies and silk nightdresses.
- Lower- or full-body shapewear items - shapewear items are often not particularly fashion-based or attractive, with the most well-known, established types typically being Spanx pants. These support pants, along with other support bodywear, help to create a smoother, more desirable shape of the female form under figure-hugging clothing. Other shapewear items include bodies and support slips, which have become more innovative in recent years to cater to the diverse fashion styles of clothing that demand more versatile underwear
Hosiery can be subdivided into:
- Tights - these are traditionally made of nylon or wool, yet are increasingly manufactured from Lycra, polyamide, elastane (commonly known as Spandex) and other stretchy fabrics. Fashion trends have seen footless tights, tights with patterns and decorative styles, including the widely popular suspender-style tights displayed on the catwalk, on public figures and in high-street retailers - these latter items have become an outerwear fashion apparel piece rather than being classed as underwear. The thickness and weight is defined in terms of denier or opacity, and can give the appearance of sheer tights or thick colour blocking.
- Stockings or hold-ups, knee-highs, ankle-highs (pop-socks) - stockings are mainly worn as sexy nightwear, either with a suspender belt or on their own, and are generally not worn as day-to-day items as commonly as they have been in the past. There is also a practical stocking sector, with the likes of compression stockings to improve circulation and other medical stockings.
- Socks - this subsector includes many different types of socks, including ankle socks, trainer socks, walking socks, thermal socks and slipper socks, most of which are tailored to fit the various shoe and other footwear styles available
- Stockings and tights are made from interwoven fabrics and manufacturers are increasingly mixing fibres and other chemicals into the pores of fabric blends to create new effects and characteristics. As a result, microencapsulation techniques are used to place health or beauty creams in tights; some tights have caffeine in them to reduce cellulite; and some tights give the appearance of legs being thinner. Tights for sports-related purposes are also being developed as a niche area of this sector
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1. Introduction & Definition
2. REPORT COVERAGE
3. MARKET SECTORS
What’s KEY in the Market?
4. KEY DRIVERS
5. MARKET TRENDS
Rise in Attractive Plus-Size and Bigger-Busted Lingerie
‘Fifty Shades’ Effect
Celebrity and Designer Collaborations
6. ECONOMIC TRENDS
7. MARKET POSITION
8. HOW ROBUST IS THE MARKET?
Market Size, Segmentation & Forecasts
9. MARKET SIZE & SEGMENTATION
The Total Market
Future Economic Trends
Forecast Total Market
10. MARKET GROWTH
11. GENERAL OVERVIEW
12. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats
Issues in the Global Supply Chain
Issues in Promoting Healthy Body Image
Raw Material Costs
Acquisitions, Closures and Restructuring of Brands
Female Population Trends
Social Factors Leading to Greater Demand for Larger Bra Sizes
Health Implications of Bra Fittings
Technological Innovation in Functional Lingerie
Company Profiles Updated
League Tables Updated