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Global Sleepwear Market: An Analysis of the Driving Forces

by Anjori Grover Vasesi

03-October-2018  |  10 mins read

In the past few years, sleepwear has emerged as a major business opportunity, valuing between US $ 30 billion to US $ 40 billion globally. The category itself cited 18.8 per cent growth in the last year – which perches it among other top categories, such as activewear (which saw 18.2 per cent growth) and footwear (that’s recorded a growth of 15.9 per cent).

As far as assortments go, data collected by Edited, states that 70 per cent of the entire sleep apparel retails on the mass market with only about 5 per cent passing off as luxury. 20.5 per cent of this assortment is sold as a set, with an equal emphasis across pyjama sets, robes and nighties.

Transitional sleepwear – one that doubles as nightwear and loungewear, is having its moment at present. The silhouettes shy away from traditional pyjama styles towards more structured pant style pieces, in cotton, in satin that focus on comfort.

The sleepwear category should be looking at bridging the gap between bed-time and home-time so as to provide consumers with the opportunity to be creative and mix pieces up.

“I strongly feel that the strappy one-piece nightie is going to be a big hit – we are doing a lot of them in knit which can also be translated as loungewear pieces. The classic shirt and pyjama in satins are also front-runners,” said Swati Gupta, Founder of Papillon, a nightwear brand based in India.

Another area that is a hot cake for those who are looking to enter this category is bridal sleepwear. Bridal nightwear is growing online, with a market share that boasts a 4 per cent increase in the last two years. The trend encompasses newlyweds, honeymooners and even bachelorette gangs. Silk nighties and nightgowns cater to the brides directly, while personalised bridal party sets, pyjamas and robes serve the bachelorette market.

“In India, when it comes to bridal, people do spend. I’ve customised a few pieces for some clients where I experimented with nice camisole pieces and strappy one-piece nighties in silk, and they did not restrict the budget. For bridal, people want to spend on such pieces,” Gupta added.

A huge potential for opportunity lies in the domestic market, where the demand is swelling every quarter. India is known for its varied climatic conditions, ranging from tropical in the south to temperate and alpine in the north, which at the onset, posed as a challenge for the sleepwear industry. A pragmatic approach led to the realisation that the fabric options available in the market were not in accordance with the Indian climate, and hence unsuitable for Indian skin or a good night’s sleep.

It is no surprise that the domestic market has been facing issues related to sizing, in the past. A key area that needs redressal is India specific sizing.

Kolkata-based nightwear brand clts (an acronym for Cute Little Things), works on Indian body shapes and provides sizes that range from XS to XL. Its’ in-house design team and in-house fabric department, allow it to ensure 100 per cent quality along with enough legroom to experiment.

They have also invested in the model of combo’s to provide an edge over other nightwear labels available in the country today.

Mitesh Baheti of clts said, “We provide a combo of T-shirts, shorts, pyjamas and capris which feature as separates that can be used for twinning and mix-matching.”,He further added, “The idea came up because India is a seasonal country, people are not used to casually spending on loungewear as it is still a growing niche within the industry, something that has started to gain popularity in the last 2-3 years. The Indian consumer is price- sensitive, so this combo acts as a complete set that covers 365 days, where the user is free to style basics any way he/she wants.”

Consumers are willing to invest in sleepwear, opening an entire new arena for those actively looking to enter the market. Today, sleepwear is about quality fabrics matched with contemporary styles and prints, offering versatility.


Versatile loungewear pieces that work for both day and night | Oysho, clts, Oysho

Sleep is becoming transitional; versatile pieces that translate as day-to-night time pieces or those that double up as loungewear continue to be a big trend.

Sleep is expanding and merging into a more dynamic category that can be worn and styled in multiple ways, depending upon the varied needs and interests of the diversified consumer base today. The overdominance of digital technology directly impacts this category, as more and more consumers opt for relaxation and leisure time indoors, while craving for the freedom of being able to run errands, if required, uninterrupted by what they are wearing. Furthermore, the spike in health- and fitness-related activities offers a bonus for more silhouettes that serve the yoga and activewear segment.

“Boundaries between day and night, and indoor and outdoor are becoming more fluid. Sleepwear and loungewear are merging into a new livingwear category that can be worn and styled in multi-functional ways,” Nina Rehmann, PR and Communication Manager, Hanro concluded.


Opulent materials such as velvet are big owing to their luxe qualities

There is a shift towards effortless glamour – pieces that are luxurious but at the same time, comfortable. Velvet continues to be a popular trend for the upcoming season, owing to its luxe and opulent characteristics.

Velvet two-pieces or velour tracks in jewel tones, and also millennial pink will add an element of interest to classic silhouettes. Owing to their opulent quality, velvet pieces also double up as chic loungewear pieces, translating as perfect day-to-night items.


Oysho, Papillon, Bwitch

Pieces that explore the sensuality and transparency of lace embroidered over sleek silks, soft tulles and sheer surfaces are making a comeback.

Modern, textured motifs representing florals are translated over fine laces in a dreamy palette of pastel shades and classic blacks and whites that accentuate the delicacy of the female form.

“Depending on the styles, I usually use lace to accentuate the collars, the entire button line and the pockets… Like on satin, I put it over pleats and also incorporate it over some of the pyjamas. With satins, laces are more experimental and go with a lot of things but with cottons, they’re a bit restricted,” Gupta stated.


Laurence Tavernier, Bwitch, Oysho

Oriental influences are a rage this season, both on the men’s runways as well as on the women’s – so it’s no surprise that the trend continues to filter into the sleep segment as well.

Though robes have been a mainstay in the sleep category, this season sees the use of luxe fabrics such as opulent silks, slinky satins and comfy cottons taking the lead. The lengths are above the knee and the colours are moodier.


There is a collective inclination towards natural fabrics for comfort and overall wellness.

In the past few seasons, consumers have started to become increasingly aware of the ill-effects of mass production, and the lingering hazardous threats posed by fast fashion. This has led to a spike in demand for more sustainable, organic and trans-seasonal fabrics which will stand the test of time. People are becoming more mindful of their purchases, therefore, interesting detail play would be key in this category.


The bigger, the better – that’s the memo for the future of sleepwear.

Bold, prominent florals or landscape inspired prints are reflected in the print and pattern choices for Spring/Summer 2019. Vivid and jewel tones that reference the beauty of nature come alive on classic silhouettes.

A heavy dose of print pattern mixes, which also align with the runway reports for Spring /Summer 2019, are expected to be major performers with print-on-print gaining mainstream popularity.

“We believe this trend will continue, seeing an increase in the use of bold, luxe colours and maximalist, large-scale prints, as well as strong, statement pattern/print mixes,” said Helen Pollington, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Violet & Wren.