Study: The Rise of Ath-leisure Affects Global Lingerie Sales

Ath-leisure trends have caused a dent in the lingerie market, according to a newly released report.

Ath-leisure innerwear has trumped the lingerie market, according to new research from Edited.

After analyzing online sales data across 80 lingerie retailers in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe over the last three months, Edited found that bralettes increased in sales by 120 percent year-on-year, while push-up bras fell by 50 percent. Padded bras have fallen by 22 percent, but they are the most stocked style, which could change quickly.

Across all bra styles, including padded, bralettes, push-ups, sports, plunges, T-shirts and balconies, the only categories that experienced growth were bralettes and sports bras, at 18 percent and 27 percent, respectively. The report also found that cost may be a factor, as bralettes are 26 percent less expensive than push-up bras. Sports bras are 20 percent cheaper — and more cost-efficient: Soft-form bras’ lower manufacturing costs allow for lower retail price-points.

As a result, top lingerie brands and retailers have acclimated to the changing market. For example, 44 percent of Bergdorf Goodman’s bra products are now priced below $50, whereas last year it was only a touch above 1 percent, while 22 percent of Calvin Klein’s bra products were priced between $20 and $30. And Victoria’s Secret launched a “sports bralette” product that has sold out across six colors and four sizes since its introduction in early January this year.

The lean toward ath-leisure also translates to fashion trends, as ath-leisure has contributed to women’s wear sales growth overall, according to a report by Euromonitor. Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all experienced double-digit sales growth in 2015, while Lululemon Athletica saw a 369 percent rise in sales from 2010 to 2015. Ath-leisure is expected to continue increasing in popularity as fashion brands invest in new technologies and “multifunctional fabrics.”

Katie Smith, the senior fashion and retail market analyst at Edited, said, “Established lingerie brands are facing stiff competition from newcomers like Lively, Negative and Adore Me. With ath-leisure apparel now an everyday item, retailers need to break bralettes and sports bras out of trend status and add them to their core selection.”

The Edited report concluded that consumers today are in pursuit of both “functional and comfortable apparel.” Edited’s analysts suggested that fashion and lingerie brands should incorporate bralettes and sports bras into upcoming collections, taking a nod from designers such as Alexander Wang, Stella McCartney and Dolce & Gabbana.

Product value is added by the use of finer fabrics, high quality lace, embroidery, velvet trims and metal fastenings, while soft textiles such as bamboo, Tencel and jersey are recommended, according to the report.

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