The ever-growing quest to obtain the perfect figure that media has instilled in the minds of fashion enthusiasts, has given impetus to a niche market segment into becoming an increasingly favourite sector for all brands (innerwear or otherwise); thus, the growth of shapewear has gained momentum recently.
Shapewear garments help to reshape the body as desired, lift the sagginess, flatten out bulges and straighten the posture which has become a necessity in the minds of the consumer who is wearing tighter silhouettes than ever. The compressionwear and shapewear market was valued at US $ 3,800 million in 2016 and is set to reach a whopping US $ 5,000 million in 2021, according to Statista. This is a testament to the widespread acceptance of this market segment around the world.
Agents driving success of the industry
From brands solely dedicated to this segment to others who have entered due to the sheer lucrativeness of shapewear and compressionwear, there are many players who have made quite an impact in delivering it to the masses across the globe.
Spanx is a name synonymous with shapewear. A pioneer in the industry, the company offers the largest selection of slimming intimates, body shapers, hosiery, apparel, and the latest innovations in shapewear for men and women. Founder Sara Blakely started a company out of her apartment that is now a million dollar business in a billion dollar industry today. The brand caters to the body-shaping needs of customers in over 50 countries.
Some players that have followed suit include Nike, Inc., Jockey International Inc., Hanesbrands Inc., Triumph International Corp., Leonisa SA and Contourglobal PLC . These companies focus on product and technological innovations to gain a greater market share.
Delving deeper into the segment’s brisk success, there are various factors responsible. The market is bifurcated into male and female end users with the latter making up 94 per cent of the market share. Therefore, there are a wide variety of products dedicated to them – control camisoles, corsets, body shapers, singlets, body briefs, and saree shapewear. Moreover, manufacturers are introducing innovative products that focus on different areas of the body. On the other hand, the male end-user segment is projected to register the fastest CAGR of more than 8 per cent from 2019 to 2025.
Besides body shaping, compressionwear provides support for people who have to stand for long periods or have poor circulation. Medical benefits of the same have pushed the category forward apart from becoming a beauty and fashion need.
The geriatric population, which makes up a large portion of compressionwear users, has been growing at an unprecedented rate. The number of people aged 65 or older are expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2050. A rise in demand from elderly population has been observed owing to usage of compression garments for the treatment of edema, phlebitis and thrombosis which occur in old age. Thus, the demand for compressionwear generated from geriatric population is expected to grow at a fast rate, creating huge opportunities for this segment in coming years.
The changing lifestyles of consumers living in urban and semi-urban societies of developing countries has given rise to a culture that promotes fitness, also the reason for the growing fad of fitness and gymming chains across India and the globe. Fitness consciousness and sporting activities largely contribute to the growth of this market. The replacement of gymwear or athleticwear with compressionwear is an indication of the awareness of the health benefits that compressionwear brings to its users.
In the present age, ascent of GDPs in various countries has increased disposable income of individuals, enhancing the per capita expenditure over lifestyle and luxury goods. This in turn has increased demand for compression and shapewear.
Trends in the market
Shapewear is an item that remains unaffected by seasonality and trends, which means retailers have less reason to introduce new stocks as they would to get trends on point, making getting styles right in the first place all the more critical.
US retailers offering products from major shapewear players are moving away from classic silhouettes to styles more suited for dailywear.
Although most of the shapewear is categorised as underwear, companies are introducing myriad variations of products spanning from basques to bodysuits, full slips, half slips and more – all with their own technological features such as moisture-wicking and different levels of compression.
For any market to gain the kind of widespread success this industry has been garnering, all-inclusion is the key. Demand for plus-size shapewear continues to grow, which is a box Kim Kardashian West plans on ticking with her new venture into the category with SKIMS Solutionwear. Her brand will be available in sizes from XXS to 5XL – a broader range than SPANX at XS-3XL.
Like beauty and lingerie, shapewear requires inclusivity in size and colour. One of the many cult brands tackling the lack of diversity within ‘nude’ coloured products, Heist is using data science to reinvent the wheel.
Heist developed seven shades of nude which cover over 1,000 unique skin tones. Kardashian West has also announced her upcoming range which will be nude-inclusive, available in 9 shades.
Advancements in fabric technology that constitute compressionwear and shapewear have supplemented the growth of this market. Technologies such as bonding and laser cutting have transformed products by eliminating seams, hems, and bulky fastenings. Although lycra, neoprene, spandex and nylon are the commonly used fabrics by the manufacturers, new and improved fabrics are softer, more breathable, and have more efficient sculpting properties. Sankom Switzerland has introduced an exclusive line of shapewear infused with aloe vera, which has antibacterial properties and enables the shapewear to cool the body. Skins International launched a collection of compression clothing infused with fabric, which is warp-knitted using multiple fine quality yarns to give superior performance. Such advancements in the fabric technology continue to fuel the growth of global compressionwear and shapewear market.
North America and Europe have remained the focal points of growth for the market with the former accounting for almost 39 per cent of the market alone. Specialty stores are the largest channels of distribution. They accounted for more than 58 per cent of the global shapewear market share in 2018. Increasing number of apparel retail outlets, especially in emerging countries like Brazil, India and China are expected to have a positive impact on the market growth. Brands should focus on paving their way into these new markets to tap an otherwise overlooked expansive consumer base. Some brands have already taken notice; for instance, Hunkemöller, a Dutch lingerie brand selling shapewear, opened its first store in Delhi and plans to set up four more stores in the country in the coming years. In 2016, Zivame, an online lingerie retailer, planned to open up 50 stores in India. The company claims to earn 50 per cent of its revenue through these stores.
“China is expected to become one of the major growth contributors to the Asia-Pacific market in upcoming years. The ongoing investments by the Chinese Government, for the development of sports infrastructure to encourage youth athletic participation would provide huge impetus to China’s compression wear market. This is also attracting several foreign athleticwear companies towards the Chinese market, thereby, further intensifying the market competition, and at the same time, driving the market growth,” told Bhawna Kohli, Manager Research at Allied Market Research to PR Newswire.
Although women make up the lion’s share of the market for shapewear, compression wear is dominated by men. In today’s age, where women are becoming increasingly more athletic and aware about the benefits of fitness, catering to their needs will supplement the growth of this segment. On the other hand, shapewear industry sees the domination of products dedicated to women and a wider selection can help the fashion-conscious men become purveyors of body-sculpting shapewear.