Millennials trigger evolution in bra-buying habits

Lingerie retailers that fail to respond to a generational change in bra-buying habits could find themselves losing out to more agile competitors for business.

That’s because new research reveals that the way Millennial women shop for and select bras differs “significantly” from the behaviour of older generations.

A report from The NPD Group shows that among consumers of all ages, 80% of bra purchases are planned, and the need to replace is their top reason cited for buying a new one.

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At the end of the shopping process, over 50% of women buy three or more bras at a time, try them on at home, and don’t return them.

However, Millennials are starting their engagement with the category differently than previous generations in terms of styles, brands, and the way they shop, according to the global information company.

“The intimate apparel industry needs to embrace the differences while finding the common currency among today’s bra shoppers,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group. “Although their definitions of comfort may differ, Millennials and non-Millennials will buy more than one bra when they find the one that suits their lifestyle.”

In general, Millennials have a more diverse bra wardrobe than non-Millennials. When asked about bra styles worn in the last seven days, Millennials cited wearing multiple styles more than non-Millennials.

Millennials also indicated newness and change in size as top reasons for purchase more often than non-Millennials did.

“All bra consumers seek comfort, but differences in their bra introduction and life-stage timeline have impacted how Millennials and non-Millennials arrive at comfort throughout their lives,” added Cohen.

“The comfort and wearability of the athleisure apparel trend, that is embedded in the Millennial style vocabulary, will compel them to seek the same type of comfort and ease of movement throughout their bra journey; this ultimately drives them toward different shopping behaviours than those of Boomers and older generations.”

The NPD Group, which carried out the study in the US, concluded that innovation and targeted variety in product, promotion and placement will continue to serve lingerie retailers as they encounter an ever-diverse consumer base.

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