American Industry Overview: Women's, Girls', Children's and Infants' Underwear and Nightwear

This category includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing women's, girls', children's and infants' underwear and nightwear from purchased woven or knit fabrics.

Industry Snapshot

Intimate apparel had grown into an impressive $30 billion business by the mid-2000s, with U.S. companies holding a $12.4 billion share of the market. Worldwide, bras had 56 percent of sales in this category, followed by 32 percent for briefs. Boasting relatively low-priced luxury, lingerie is accessible to consumers of all economic levels. All but 16 percent of total lingerie was purchased by consumers in developed countries in the mid-2000s, but some industry analysts expected emerging markets to contribute to forecasted growth, for a projected industry value of $32 billion by 2010.

Comfort was king in the intimate apparel industry. New, more comfortable stretch-microfiber fabrics could be found in underwear and sleepwear, robes, and loungewear. Loungewear also became more dressed up and crossover wear became increasingly popular with manufacturers making clothing that consumers could sleep in, lounge in, or leave the house in. In mid-2000s, growth in this category was still driven by fashion, and consumers felt comfortable spending relatively little for pricier, luxury lingerie items. The trend to casual dress in the United States also factored in to give the loungewear and innerwear industry a boost.