Consumers Spending on Lingerie Despite Food, Gas Costs

NEW YORK — In the face of rising gas and food costs consumers have continued spending on one item you’d think they’d go without — intimate apparel, according to a recent market research study.

In its report, U.S. Market for Intimate Apparel, market research firm Packaged Facts estimated that the lingerie market raked in $10 billion last year. And while the industry has seen moderate growth over the last five years, a considerable expansion has been reported in the market of sexy/fantasy/trashy lines.

“Lingerie gives consumers an experience similar to movie-watching,” Bridget Silvestri, director of media relations for Trashy Lingerie told XBIZ. “It helps you step out of your life for a little while. During financially trying times consumers never stop going to the movies. Fantasy, romance or action movies — lingerie has the same appeal to women.”

Trashy’s Lingerie’s intimate apparel, costume and couture lines have been featured worldwide in mainstream publications such as Maxim, FHM, Elle, Playboy, Rolling Stone and Stuff to name a few.

“Right now, people need a little extra happiness and joy in their lives. And you can find that through intimate apparel. On all price points — there’s something for every buyer,” continued Silvestri.

Wilson Keller, Creative Director for a href="" target="_blank">Hustler Lingerie<, echoes the same sentiment.

"Even if people struggle in the day-to-day, they still need to feel that life's worth living, and luxury items fill that need," Keller told XBIZ. "Maybe the U.S. will run out of money. Many people in the middle of the country already feel the pinch. But mark my words, even when people in the poorest states are burning money for warmth, New York and New Jersey, Southern California and Las Vegas will continue to thrive, and the multi-national populations there will continue to spend cash on the finer things, down to their last dime."

The study reported that the intimate apparel market is appealing to retailers because it has higher profit margins than regular apparel, drives store traffic and boosts customer loyalty.

Online sales have contributed to the growth of the market particularly for companies who offer consumers adult toys and accessories. Additionally, intimate apparel for the plus-sized female accounts for 10 percent of the $22 billion plus-size clothing market.

“Looking at our sales, anything that is a little out of the mainstream, be it [plus] size, fetish or otherwise has done really well for us,” Marketing Manager of Michael Sean Christensen told XBIZ.

Christensen’s company offers consumers and retailers everything from men and women’s fetish clothing, costume and fantasy lines, plus-size lingerie and adult novelty items.

“People are driving less to conserve money and that puts them home in close proximity to their computer. The more time people are home, the more time they are going to be online for whatever reason. And let's face it; adult products are very often impulse purchases. It tends to reason, if someone is home, and online more, it increases the chance that they may make an online adult purchase.”