The power of lingerie: 5 things you do not know about the global market


Underwear makes up 6% of womenswear products being sold globally. 6% looks like a small number, but the figures reach $37 Billion and above when converted to money. In the age of diversity and inclusivity, the lingerie industry brings increased opportunity for companies to make sales by incorporating consumer demands.

So, what’s the big deal with lingerie? 

  • Lingerie = Money

Lingerie makes money. It is a market that grows continuously with an increase in various products with different designs for different lifestyles and events, from bridal wear down to sportswear. Many companies have capitalised on that fact.

In 2019, the global Lingerie Market was estimated at $37 billion. By 2026, the market is projected to reach USD 57 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 7.6%.

Women have immense influence over this market; it has become increasingly popular due to the need for women to highlight their natural beauty. It’s about comfort, functionality but in a way that looks and feels good for the wearer. Look at the Ackermans specials for example, the models in lingerie are not your usual size zeros. They are normal women you see every day because every woman wants to feel and look good. This is the new trend. You choose lingerie to suit your comfort and style needs. 

  • Some underwear is more popular than others. 

Over the past few years, the wireless bra has become more and more popular. Push up bras have become less expensive and have been replaced in position by bralettes and sports bras. The buzzwords for lingerie currently are “seamless”, “stretch”, “soft”, and “comfort”. These attributes make up the top-performing styles of lingerie from the past three months. Granny panties are also back in; full coverage underwear continues to increase in sales.

However, comfort and functionality don’t mean less style or the absence of sexy silhouettes; pretty and feminine features are still popular.

  • Nude is the new black 

Not being able to find nude tights or underwear for dark skin is a thing of the past. Brands such as Nude Barre, Black-owned Nubian Skin, Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, and Kim Kardashian West’s Skims all have collections of different products; lingerie and activewear hosiery in flesh tones of all shades.

Diversity and inclusivity are in, and more prominent companies have begun to follow suit.

  •  Interest in shapewear has decreased

This has happened as a result of COVID 19 and the restriction of events. Shapewear businesses are moving their focus away from goods that claim to “fix” or cover body parts because there is still so much uncertainty about the return of events and the need for conventional shapewear. Most people would want to look perfect when attending a gala or a red carpet event, but these events have moved online. As a result, the emphasis is now being placed on current lifestyles and the innovation of shapewear that is more comfortable for all body types. 

  • Opportunity for sustainability 

Lingerie is one of those things that need constant replacing and disposal. As a result, lingerie continues to be one of the clothing categories under heavy scrutiny for environmental impact.

There is growing consumer pressure from millennial and Gen-Z consumers, who are more vocal about these concerns. There is an immense opportunity to create eco-friendly underwear. Some companies have already started; the brand Free People has thongs manufactured from Dupont™ Sorona®, an eco-friendly fabric manufactured from corn sugar. Other companies such as HARA use natural dyes created from turmeric, indigo, and madder root with eco-friendly bamboo fabric.

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