Last year, the surge in time consumers spent at home, the dramatic increase in the number of employees working remotely and the general need for comfort and self care during periods of quarantine created a boom for the lingerie industry. From smooth silks to comforting cotton, the greater lingerie market represents much more than steamy and visually appealing undergarments. Projected to hit a valuation of more than $11.3 billion by 2025 in the U.S., the lingerie industry includes everything from casual daily undergarments and underwear like boxers, briefs and bras to cozy sleepwear, pajamas and robes.
Brands like Adore Me, Third Love, PajamaGram and Savage X Fenty are capturing the attention of new and diverse audiences. And now, as Valentine’s Day approaches, lingerie and loungewear brands are enjoying seasonal opportunities to connect and engage with audiences seeking sexy, cozy and comforting gifts as consumers increasingly shop online.
Ecommerce & Social Media Drive Growth In Lingerie & Loungewear Markets
The growing popularity of shopping online helped drive lingerie sales over the last three years, especially among established ecommerce retailers like Adore Me and Third Love. When the coronavirus pandemic caused many brick-and-mortar lingerie brands like Victoria’s Secret to pivot their approaches and shift more toward digital strategies, established retailers were in a winning position.
Social media has been a powerful channel to propel lingerie sales on ecommerce shops. Advertising across Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and SnapChat is inspiring consumers while helping shoppers avoid uncomfortable fitting room experiences or uneasy tours around showrooms that cater to specific body types. As such, social media advertising has helped lingerie brands target younger, larger and more diverse audiences, offering connections and visual appeal.
ThirdLove & Savage X Fenty Cater To Demand For Inclusivity Within Lingerie Industry
Plus-sized women and Gen Z are two key consumer demographics projected to accelerate the growth of the lingerie industry in North America. From 2019 to 2020,Google search volume for plus-sized lingerie soared, peaking in February alongside Valentine’s Day related purchasing. The modern lingerie market is more about confidence than romantic sensuality or self-correcting. Moreover, lingerie has evolved from private undergarments to fashion statements as the demand for fashionable and trendy looks continues to push brands to expand and diversify their lingerie products offerings.
The boom in diversity among lingerie products matches that of the industry’s evolving customer base. Young adults and diverse audiences are gravitating toward lingerie brands with websites, social media pages, email marketing and advertising messages that represent racial diversity, body positivity and size inclusivity.
ThirdLove Focuses On Inclusivity & Millennials
Even before COVID-19, direct-to-consumer (DTC) bra retailer ThirdLove was experiencing success among consumers. In 2019, ThirdLove was ranked as the “ninth fastest-growing online apparel merchant” in the U.S. with 51.4% growth in web sales from the prior year. With it’s assortment of bra sizes, focus on social causes and sustainability, free shipping promotions and mid-tier price points, NDP Group ranked ThirdLove as the top online bra retailer among Millennials in 2020. Heidi Zak, ThirdLove CEO and co-founder, attributed the brand’s growth, in part, to the brand’s focus on digital experiences, which put ThirdLove in a position to thrive during the pandemic. During the height of COVID-19, ThirdLove focused it’s marketing efforts on inclusivity, with specific attention paid to price points and customer diversity. In September 2020, Zak described the pandemic related challenges facing retail as an, “opportune time to be able to offer more value” and entice customers to feel more comfortable buying bras online.
Savage X Fenty Connects With Young Shoppers With Body Positive Advertising
Rihanna’s lingerie and sleepwear brand Savage X Fenty continues to capture the attention of Gen Z audiences by representing fearlessness, confidence and inclusivity. The Savage X Fenty brand represents consumers of all sizes and promotes a seamless online experience with many options, allowing shoppers to select the transaction experience that best fits their needs. For example, Savage X Fenty encourages customers to take advantage of a 90-day “guaranteed fit” free return policy and also offers optionality, through its subscription service, XTRA VIP membership. Savage X Fenty is a clear example that brands looking to attract and retain the loyalty of Gen Z audiences need to embrace digital approach and commit to diversity and inclusion.
Adore Me Relies On Tech, Consumer Data & UX To Drive Sales
With an emphasis on digital technology, Adore Me has been disrupting the lingerie industry for nearly a decade. Aspiring to become, “The Zara of lingerie” according to PYMENTS.com, since its inception in 2012, Adore Me has been recognized three times on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America and has remained focused on delivering innovative products for women. According to Bogdan Lucaciu, Adore Me CTO, their high conversion and low cart abandonment rates can be attributed to smart consumer data practices and a suite of tech and AI tools that, “get products in front of customers quickly.”
In 2019, the Adore Me Valentine’s Day marketing efforts were heavily centered around social-first ads, with messages focused on women’s empowerment. Inspired by the question, “What do you really want for Valentine’s Day,” Adore Me launched a series of video ads on Facebook and Instagram to connect with their target audiences. According to Katie Rochards in an article for Glossy, Adore Me found that its long-format video ads resonated best with consumers and drove the most conversions over a six-week period. Head of content at Adore Me, Ranjan Roy, noted that the longer format social media video ads have, “a 29% lower cost-per-content view” and were 30% more efficient than their typical nine-second long videos. A commitment to leveraging first-party data and advertising analytics empowers Adore Me to make high-impact decisions that continue to position it for success among target audiences.
PajamaGram Leverages UGC To Engage Audiences
Known as the pajama experts, PajamaGram markets its products as ideal gifts to help any recipient relax, unwind and kick back. According to the PajamaGram brand story, “Sending [PajamaGram] pajamas as a gift is like sending a staycation.” The PajamaGram online presence focuses on promoting fit, comfort and personalization with free gift packaging, and the ecommerce brand’s digital experience makes it easy for customers to place orders online and add special touches to their gift purchases.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, PajamaGram continues to focus on user-generated content (UGC) via its social media and email marketing to attract the attention of current and prospective customers. Currently, PajamaGram is running the #Pajamuary UGC-inspired contest via its social channels asking consumers to, “show us how you're treating yourself to comfort this month!” PajamaGram also promotes UGC contests via email marketing campaigns encouraging consumers to use #PajamaGramFamily and share family photos in matching sets to capture a savings offer of $50 off a PajamaGram purchase. Leveraging welcome, cart abandonment and purchaser activation emails, PajamaGram is consistently nurturing its audience at key moments in the sales funnel to maintain strong customer acquisition and retention.
Early & Continual Digital Engagement Will Help Lingerie & Loungewear Brands Reap Rewards This Valentine’s Day
As Valentine’s Day approaches, consumers are heading online to purchase romantic, thoughtful and loving gifts for themselves and significant others. Lingerie and loungewear brands need to connect with their target audiences early and often as undergarments, intimates and sleepwear are likely to be top gift categories in this year focused on self-care and comfort.
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