Over the past year, China’s lingerie and loungewear markets have undergone a continuous evolution, marked by diversification. As we step into 2024, it’s evident that new social movements, subcultures and consumer trends have had an impact in shaping China’s underwear and loungewear sectors.
Amid the nation’s economic slowdown, Chinese society has seen the rise “full-time son and daughter,” and the return of “boomerang” young adults moving back home to live with their parents; meanwhile slang like “involution” and “let it rot” have influenced loungewear and loungewear.
While the popularization of sports such as ballet, running, tennis and skiing have influenced localized versions of trends such as balletcore, tenniscore and athflow — which is pair a quiet luxury aesthetic with loungewear.
Meanwhile, on the ground, from Victoria’s Secret’s closing its Beijing flagship store — despite efforts such as their much-hyped collaboration with Chinese designer Rui Zhou, to Inditex Group’s Oysho shuttering 10 stores across China over 2023, global lingerie and loungewear brands are facing increasingly fierce local competition amid an uncertain economic climate.
In a market more recently dominated by major global brands, Chinese underwear and home wear-makers such as Bananain, CandyLaVie and Ubras are moving in for a piece of the 495.3 billion RMB ($69 trillion) pie that China’s underwear market will grow to reach by 2030, according to the “Chinese Women’s Underwear White Paper.” As the market continues to diversity and grow, we take a look at China’s top domestic lingerie brands and their activities in 2023.
Founded in 2017, Ubras specializes in offering comfortable underwear for women. The brand’s "one-size-fits-all” bras," "skin-friendly”, and "soft support” innerwear have made its offerings popular among Chinese consumers.
After rebranding its image in February last year, Ubras adopted the new tagline “Let your body be free first.” The brand celebrates women’s independence via sensorial experiences via the clothing they wear. In May 2023, Ybras celebrated its seventh anniversary by including a "pink label" tag with its latest products to encourage women to prioritize breast health and conduct regular checks.
Known for being among the first to launch “tagless” underwear in 2016, underwear and loungewear brand Bananain now produces a range of inner wear, UV protection clothing, socks and loungewear.
In 2023, the popular China-based retailer came up with the “100 reasons to wear red” campaign for the Chinese New Year — encouraging their followers on social media to share their hopes and dreams in wearing red, which is seen as a lucky color during the Lunar New Year. The hashtag for the campaign “#新年穿红的100个理由#” garnered over 12 million views across Xiaohongshu at the time.
By April in the same year, Bananain announced that it was valued at 14 billion RMB ($1.97 trillion,) earning the underwear brand a spot on the 2023 Hurun Global List.
This year, Bananain is preparing for the year of the dragon with red-themed “stay at home party” campaign featuring actress Zhou Dongyu.
As one of the first Chinese lingerie brands that offers bras for women with larger busts, amid China’s cookie-cutter and oftentimes less accessible underwear brands, CandyLaVie is known for celebrating more diverse body types, shapes and sizes. Founded in 2015, the retailer has found success in catering to women who need larger cups, and was recognized among Tmall’s top lingerie sellers by 2021.
The inclusivity-focused brand has made education campaigns part of its marketing focus, offering cartoons tutorials and how-to’s to followers on Weibo. From informing readers on how a bra should ideally fit, to sharing body-positive messages about the diverse shapes and sizes figures and busts, CandyLa Vie has found immense success with its all-inclusive approach.
Leading a more mature and sophisticated image in China’s lingerie market, Aimer has expanded its product offerings over the past few decades since first launching in 1993. The publicly-listed Beijing-based underwear brand owns under 20 sub-brands including La Clover, Aimer Men, BeChic and other labels under its umbrella.
As part of its 30th anniversary celebration in 2023, Aimer launched its “Aesthetic underwear for the human body” campaign, which introduced products that were healthy, comfortable and stylish that were created via “human-centered design.”
The underwear retailer also held several “Aimer Museum Underwear Culture” exhibitions in different locations across China to commemorate its 30 year anniversary. The event featured a retrospective of Aimer’s decades of underwear and lingerie designs, leading visitors from its conception through its evolution to its more serious and serious image today.
Additional research by William Zhou.