China’s lingerie and loungewear markets have diversified and seen much growth over the last few years. The lingerie sector is currently valued at $26 billion, while loungewear is expected to grow to $13.36 billion by 2025. The culture of underwear, lingerie and loungewear has experienced huge shifts in the past years in China as international styles mix with and influence local sensibilities.
Flourishing sales in these sectors are largely driven by demand from younger consumers, as well as China’s shifting societal values and lifestyles. As women achieve greater independence and grow in earning and buying power, movements like body positivity and diversity have led to demand for a greater range of underwear and undergarment support styles from the likes of Neiwai and CandyLaVie.
Women in China only purchase lingerie on average four times a year, compared with their counterparts in Europe and the US at 12 times per year, according to the 2022 White Paper on Chinese Lingerie, released jointly by by the Underwear Committee of the China Textile Commerce Association and the Qianzhan Industry Research Institute. But will this change in the future as brands appeal to not just fit, style and comfort but how lingerie is an expression of wellness, “second skin” lifestyle and femininity?
Meanwhile, three years of lockdowns and work-from-home lifestyles in China has led to a boom in the need for comfortable loungewear from brands like Naked Beast.
From lingerie leaders to loungewear makers, Jing Daily takes a look at the top breakout brands you should be paying attention to.
Local intimates brand Ubras led the way in underwear sales during China’s 2022 annual mid-year “618 e-commerce fiesta,” with a gross merchandise value of about $60 million.
Part of this success lies in converting existing customers into its top promoters. On social platform Xiaohongshu, there are over 10,000 user-generated posts about Ubras, of which only a small portion were created by KOLs, meaning the remaining comments were posted by actual Ubras clientele. This has solidified the brand’s legitimacy among consumers.
Founded in 2016, Bananain, which describes itself as a multi-sensory technology company, is now the second-highest selling underwear brand on Tmall behind Ubras. And in China’s highly competitive lingerie market, it has created a new niche by utilizing technology to enhance the comfort of its products.
Additionally, the brand now promotes a sustainability-friendly stance. Over the summer, customers who bought eco-friendly underwear from Bananain were also gifted flower seeds.
Chinese lingerie and loungewear brand Neiwai has previously collaborated with companies including Wolford, L’Oréal Paris, and Shanghai coffee restaurant Manner.
As a “female-first” brand, Neiwai maintains its status as a high-end underwear label because its price range is still higher than average for a local lingerie company. Meanwhile, the diversity of modern women is celebrated in collections such as New York designer Andrea Jiapei Li’s Swaying/Knit collection, which features distinctive silhouettes and avante-garde materials. Swaying/Knit collab has gained popularity in China thanks to its fine fabrics and excellent knits.
The Beast’s Naked Beast
Naked Beast, a sub-brand of the Chinese clothing company The Beast, was first introduced in 2019 as an early entrant with a focus on the luxury loungewear market. Unlike the cotton items of its flagship brand TBH, Naked Beast’s loungewear comes in a variety of trendy cuts and silk-like fabrics.
Body-positive and diversity-celebrating underwear brand CandyLaVie is among the newer, progressive lingerie brands in China. Underwear that celebrates body diversity represents another growing segment of the local market, as domestic brands that support inclusivity and diversity are relatively uncommon in China.
Manito Silk, a Vancouver-based luxury silk brand, was co-founded in 2008 by one of China’s most influential silk-making families. In recent years, the brand has continued to specialize in mulberry silk wear, but has also expanded into homewares (bedding, home textiles, etc), as well as loungewear.
Since its 2015 entry into China, the label has collaborated with other luxury brands including Givenchy, La Prairie and others. Having established itself as a premier high end silk brand or the “Hermès of loungewear” (睡衣里的爱⻢仕), Manito Silk’s loungewear offerings in China are available across multiple channels and platforms including WeChat, Tmall and Xiaohongshu.
Aimer Group was first established in 1993 with its men’s, women’s and children’s underwear lines. It currently offers 20 distinct brands, among them La Clover, which was introduced in 2004 with an eye toward the luxury market. By enlisting mega-celebrities including Viya and Li Jiaqi in livestream sales of its products, Aimer has upped its digital game to compete with local rivals.