Women spend over $8.6 billion on intimate apparel, with the bulk of their purchases in the bra, panty and sleepwear categories. Total sales volume, as well as volume in each individual category, has been increasing each year between 1989 and 1994, with bras and panties experiencing record growth in 1994 of 9 and 10 percent, respectively, while sleepwear had its best year in 1993, with a 12 percent increase.
The primary channels of distribution in 1989 were department stores with a 30 percent share, discount stores with a 22 percent share and specialty stores at 11 percent. By 1994, department stores had lost their dominant position to the discounters. They fell to a 23 percent share, while discounters rose to a 27 percent leading share, with specialty stores picking up 2 points for a 13 share.
Department stores also lost their first-place position in bras and sleepwear. Their bra share eroded from 33 percent in 1989 to 24 percent in 1994, while discounters gained 8 percent, which boosted them into the number one shareholder position at 28 percent. Specialty stores also moved up, adding 2 percent, for an 11 point share.
While the department stores lost their dominant share of sleepwear, from 29 percent in 1989 to 22 percent in 1994, the discounters stayed flat at 24 percent, but nevertheless managed to take over the number one spot. On the other hand, specialty stores were the only growing channel during the period, climbing 4 percentage points, from a 12 to a 16 share, and clearly trending up.
Discounters held the major share of the panty category in 1989 at 33 percent and increased three points to maintain the lead at 36 percent in 1994. Again, department stores were the largest losers of share, dropping from 26 percent to 19 percent during the period. Specialty stores increased their share from 8 to 11 percent.