Lingerie is absolutely essential in every woman's wardrobe. As Chinese women pay more attention to their fashion and comfort, the country's lingerie market is expected to see rapid growth. By 2030 the market scale is expected to reach 495.3 billion yuan ($73.8 billion).
The domestic market for women's undergarments last year reached 176.9 billion yuan, a nearly 27 percent increase from over 139.7 billion yuan in 2016, according to an industry white paper released in Southwest China's Chongqing on Sunday.
The document, the Chinese Women's Underwear White Paper, is said to be the first of its kind in the country's lingerie industry. It was jointly issued by the Underwear Committee of the China Textile Commerce Association, the Qianzhan Industry Research Institute and brands including Cosmo Lady.
"With the maturity of the market and changes in women's values, there will be explosive growth in China's women's underwear market in the future," said Li Wanqing, deputy general manager of the business division of the Qianzhan Industry Research Institute, who interpreted the document at the release ceremony.
The report points out that though the women's lingerie industry has developed over 100 years since the early 20th century in the West, the modern underwear industry only began in China as late as the 1980s.
China's lingerie market boasts a wide variety of brands including domestic leading brands－Maniform and Gujin, along with foreign brands such as Triumph and Victoria's Secret and emerging national labels Bananain and Ubras. The brands, which all promote "comfortable underwear", are scrambling for a slice of the market and have kept the entire industry moving forward, the white paper said.
It noted, however, that despite the favorable market volume in China, there is still a large gap between the domestic market and those of the US and developed countries in Europe in terms of the proportion of underwear in clothing expenditures per capita, female underwear consumption expenditures and consumption frequency.
China's current per capita underwear proportion in per capita spending is only 10 percent, while France, which has the highest proportion in the same period, has doubled in scale.
The report finds that Chinese women spend an average of $40 every year on lingerie, while the figure is $100 in many developed countries.
But due to the lack of relevant education in Chinese schools and families, many women have little knowledge of breast care and bras so they usually pick the wrong lingerie for their bodies, the report says.
Also, most lingerie shop staff cannot provide good advice to their customers, it adds.
"Unlike the underwear market in the United States and Japan, the market in China is still fresh and highly fragmented, which means top domestic brands have a chance to lead the industry," said Peng Guifu, chairman of the Underwear Committee of the China Textile Commerce Association.
"The release of the white paper could help the industry develop more professionally and prosperously in lingerie manufacturing and marketing," he said.
Zheng Yaonan, CEO of Cosmo Lady, said the data sources of the white paper came from over 60 million female wearers of its brand, as well as JD Clothing, which has hundreds of millions of female consumers and the document took half a year to complete.