Summary of our market study

The global men's underwear market has been experiencing significant trends affecting demand and supply, as well as the market structure, with major consequences from the Covid-19 pandemic. In terms of demand, there has been an increasing focus on ethical and sustainable fashion, with 63% of Italian consumers being discouraged from purchasing from brands associated with significant pollution in their production processes. The market saw a downturn in Italy, with the industrial production index of underwear dipping to a low of 15.2 in the early months of 2020 but remained below the previous year's average.

Internationally, the trade in men's underwear continues to grow, with Italian imports and exports increasing until a pandemic-induced halt in 2020. Italy primarily imports men's underwear from Asian countries like Sri Lanka and China, which account for nearly 40% of imports, and mainly exports to European countries like Germany, England, Albania, and Spain. The Calzedonia Group, a dominant player in the sector, witnessed a turnover of €2.411 billion and continued to expand internationally. Despite these developments, the Covid-19 crisis has strongly impacted the Italian economy and industry, causing a temporary halt in production and likely influencing future market dynamics.

Italian Underwear Market: Consumer Preferences and Spending Habits

The Italian underwear market showcases distinct consumer preferences with a high inclination towards shopping and clothing ownership. Italians, on average, possess a substantial number of clothing items including about 17.5 undergarments, significantly higher than the global average of 12. The monthly expenditure on clothing for Italian households varies by region, with the highest spending recorded in the islands and the North West, both averaging close to 90 euros per month. In terms of the structure of the market, Italy distinguishes between luxury, middle-end, and low-cost segments, catering to the various needs and financial capacities of its consumers. Luxury and Made in Italy brands hold a significant position in the market, known for their high-quality fabrics and craftsmanship. At the same time, foreign players, particularly from China, populate the affordable segment, offering an array of choices at competitive prices. Driving the demand in the Italian underwear market are factors such as an increase in disposable income and a growing concern for the quality of fabric, with a strong preference for cotton, which holds approximately two-thirds of the market share in men's underwear. Comfort, performance, and style are major purchase influences, especially among younger demographics such as millennials. The Italian underwear market has also perceived changing dynamics with a decline in men's underwear sales, which dropped substantially from 106.7 million euros to around 64 million euros.

However, the global men's underwear market is expected to grow from around 29 billion dollars to over 42 billion dollars by 2025, driven by factors like personal hygiene, health, and a growing young population keen on fashion trends. On the regulatory front, the EU has established standards that govern labeling and safety requirements for textile products. These regulations emphasize fiber composition, and while information on country of origin or care instructions is not mandatory, it can be voluntarily included as long as it does not mislead consumers. In terms of international trade, Italy mostly imports men's underwear from Asian countries such as Sri Lanka and China, and exports mainly to European nations, with Germany and the United Kingdom being primary markets. The Italian underwear market has also seen a rise in e-commerce, a trend exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely affected physical retail but presented an opportunity for online sales. Despite the pandemic-induced production halts, Italy’s domestic underwear market is expected to gradually recover, maintaining its position as a significant player in the global arena.

Key Players in the Italian Underwear Market Landscape

The Italian underwear market is characterized by a blend of international prominence and domestic craftsmanship. Among the powerhouses that have secured their place in this industry, a few major companies stand out for their strong brand identity, diverse product offerings, and strategic market positioning.

  • Calzedonia Group represents a titan in the realm of intimate apparel. With a vast network of single-brand stores distributed across Italy, the group enjoys prestige with labels like Calzedonia (known for hosiery and tights), Intimissimi (celebrated for women's lingerie), and Tezenis (boasting a mixed underwear portfolio). The group's strength not only lies in its domestic presence but also in its international footprint, having expanded significantly into overseas markets.
  • Pianoforte Holding SpA harmonizes the melody that comprises key brands such as Carpisa (footwear), Yamamay (a mixed underwear collection), and Jaked (specializing in sportswear). Managed by the Cimmino and Carlino families, the venture signifies a flourishing familial tradition in Italian fashion and entrepreneurship.
  • CSP International Industrie Calze is another notable player, weaving a network of diverse brands under its wing. Names like Oroblù, which caters to mixed underwear needs, and Perofil and Cagi, addressing the men's underwear market, form part of its illustrious tapestry. The company's tenure in the field is marked by a dedication to quality and innovation in the textile industry.
  • The behemoth Inditex is widely recognized for the high street fashion brands it has in its orbit. Zara and Massimo Dutti, for example, have become synonymous with fast fashion, and through Oysho, Inditex extends its reach into the intimate apparel segment, providing consumers with accessible style.
  • PVH Corp may be best known for its iconic brands—Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger—which have both made significant strides in the men's underwear market, often associating their names with comfort and luxury.

Another heavyweight in the arena is Delta Galil Industries Ltd, which operates an array of brands such as 7 for All Mankind, catering to the upper echelons of the denim market, and Schiesser, which upholds a heritage of fine underwear craftsmanship. Despite the presence of these considerable entities, the Italian market also features a mosaic of smaller, local players.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market Summary

1.1 Definition and presentation

The underwear market is a sub-segment of the broader apparel market, and is divided into women's underwear and men's underwear. Men's underwear groups several product categories, including:

- Underwear

- Boxers

- Briefs

In Italy, underwear, like the rest of the clothing sector, is highly segmented, identifying three distinctly different categories: luxury, middle-end, and low-cost. Each of the categories covers a specific market niche and caters to a specific target audience. The influence of social and advertising companions proves to be extremely significant just as much in men's underwear, in addition to the proliferation of distribution channels with the advent of e-commerce, which is progressively taking a larger share of the market.

A dynamic segment, major women's lingerie brands are extending their offerings to men, and new brands dedicated to men's lingerie, often with niche positioning (e.g., "Made in Italy"), are entering this market.

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Latest news

Oniverse (formerly Calzedonia), revenues at 3.1 billion, strong push on foreign retail - 29/02/2024
  • Total revenues: 3.1 billion euros.
  • Revenue increase from 2022: +2% at current exchange rates.
  • Share of foreign sales: 62% of total.
  • Number of stores at year-end: 5,644.
    • New openings during the year: 314 stores (+6%).
    • Number of stores in Italy: 1,912.
    • Number of stores abroad: 3,732.
  • Countries with most new openings: the United States, France, Spain and Brazil.
  • Total investment: 563 million euros (openings, technology, logistics, ESG).
  • Future initiatives for 2024: development of Intimissimi Uomo and redevelopment of existing Calzedonia, Intimissimi and Tezenis stores.
Oniverse (formerly Calzedonia) invests in omnichannelity: Digital Hub It kicks off in Naples - 31/01/2024
  • **Oniverse Goal**: Respond faster to the needs of dynamic and ever-changing markets by ensuring scalability and reliability of omnichannel platforms.
  • **Launch Digital Hub IT**: Starting in March this year, dedicated to the development and management of technologies related to the Salesforce world and beyond, located in the Maritime Station in Naples.
  • **Induction program for new resources**: Training path supported by experts from the Federico II University of Naples and K2 Partnering Solutions to deepen knowledge about Salesforce in the first three months.
  • **Contribution of new resources**: Upon completion of the training, they will contribute to the development of Oniverse's omnichannel roadmap.
  • **Organized visits**: At headquarters in Verona and other national and international specialization hubs.
  • **Oniverse brands**: Calzedonia, Intimissimi, Intimissimi Uomo, Tezenis, Falconeri, Signorvino, Atelier Emé, Antonio Marras, Cantiere del Pardo, Grand Soleil Yachts, Pardo Yachts, and Van Dutch Yachts.
Host and Primark: The nightmare continues for H&M, overtaken by Shein - 15/12/2023
  • H&M posted annual sales up 6% to 21 billion euros
  • Spanish brand Zara saw an 11% increase in sales for the first nine months of the year, representing 25.6 billion euros and a profit in excess of 4 billion euros.
  • British brand Primark achieved sales in excess of 23 billion euros at the end of its September trading year.
  • Chinese online retailer Shein is targeting sales of €40 billion this year, while its rival Temu is aiming for €33 billion.
  • H&M reduced the number of its stores and cut 1,500 jobs last year as part of a rescue plan.
Textiles: H&M emerges weakened from a nightmare year - 29/01/2023
  • 4.400 points of sale by 2022
  • Net income down 68% by 2022
  • H&M faces competition from China's Shein
  • The chain had to close 185 stores in Russia
H&M: better than expected results in Q2 - 29/06/2022

Second-quarter net income up 33% to SEK 3.7 billion (approx. 345 million euros)

Second-quarter sales: up 17%, 54.5 billion kronor (7.3 billion euros)

Analyst forecasts (according to Factset): sales of approx. 52 billion kronor, profit of 3.0 billion

Group share price on June 29: up approx. 3.7% to 126.34 crowns

Total number of stores at end May: 4,702, down 272 year-on-year

Net store closures planned for 2022: 178 (previously 140)

Expansion planned in South America with two online stores in Colombia and Peru

Suspension of sales in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia: 181 stores affected

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

CSP International
Giorgio Armani
H&M Groupe
Calzedonia Oniverse

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