Women's and Men's Underwear Retail Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2022

Underwear Retail Market for 2021 Attained 558,000 Million Yen (101.3% YoY) for Women’s and 230,000 Million Yen (101.0% YoY) for Men’s

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has carried out a survey on the domestic retail market of women’s and men’s underwear, and found out the trends by product segment, the trends by market players, and future outlook.

Transition and Forecast of Women’s Underwear Market
Transition and Forecast of Women’s Underwear Market
Transition and Forecast of Men’s Underwear Market
Transition and Forecast of Men’s Underwear Market

Market Overview

Size of the women’s underwear market for 2021 grew to 558,000 million yen, 101.3% of that of the previous year (based on the retail price). The market seemingly bounced back from the sharp drop in 2020 after nine consecutive years of decline. Although restrictions on opening hour at commercial facilities and department stores, particularly in the central city areas, have been lifted, due to continuance of constraints and changes in lifestyle caused by the pandemic, demand recovery is still unseeable. The ‘briskness’ of pre-pandemic times has not returned to physical stores.

Men’s underwear retail market for 2021 has grown to 101.0% of the previous year to 230,000 million yen. As was seen for the women’s underwear retail market, the recovery owes to a rebound from the significant decline in the preceding year.

Noteworthy Topics

New Products: Unisex Boxer Shorts for All Genders, Lace Underwear for Men

In February 2022, Wacoal, a manufacturer mainly producing women's lingerie and underwear, and beautiful people, a fashion brand owned by company named ‘entertainment’, have collaboratively released a pair of unisex boxer shorts, the underpants for all genders that come in sizes ranging from S to LL.

Earlier, the two companies were hot in the news when they offered men’s lace boxer briefs in December 2021. It sold out immediately, though it may have been simply because it was a limited edition. The attempt as such is worth noting as a way of demand creation. It is assumed that the companies in the market will reinforce new product development hereafter.

Similarly, the demand for “men’s bra” may expand in the future, although it currently does not have a strong presence in the market. Demand for men’s bra is expected to rise hereafter, especially those an extended version of women’s sleep bra that are easy to wear and does not bind men’s body.

Future Outlook

Size of the women’s underwear retail market for 2022 is forecasted to attain 99.8% of that of the preceding year to 557,000 million yen (based on the retail price).  Since 2022 is already the third year of the pandemic, and travel restrictions are lifted and inbound tourists are returning, the industry is hoping for an upward turn. Still, with depreciation of the yen, difficult social situations, and COVID-19 showing signs of a next infection wave across Japan, the market growth may remain flat or even diminish slightly from the previous year. In addition, problems are piled up for the industry, which are associated with the price hike due to soaring raw material prices, securing human resources/personnel costs, and decreasing domestic production.

The retail market of men’s underwear for 2022 is forecasted to attain 231,000 million yen, 100.4% of the preceding year (based on the retail price). The outlook is uncertain for both men’s and women’s underwear market. The market size may not drop drastically, but it is projected to stay at almost the same level as in the previous year.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: July to September 2022
2.Research Object: Manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and other businesses in the underwear and legwear market
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by the specialized researchers (including online interviews), survey via questionnaire by mail, and literature research.

What are the Women’s & Men’s Underwear Market and Legwear Market?

In this research, the women’s underwear market includes shapewears such as bra and girdle, high quality lingerie, panties, and other undergarments. The men’s underwear market refers to undershirts (sleeveless undershirts [vests]) and underpants such as boxers and briefs. The legwear market indicates socks, tights, and pantyhose. Size of each market is calculated based on the retail price.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Women’s and men’s underwear and legwear

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