Summary of our market study

from 2020 and beyond, the menstrual underwear market in France has seen promising growth, driven by consumer demand for health and environmentally friendly sanitary options. Digital native vertical brands (DNVBs) have seen a significant increase in web traffic, as consumers turn to online shopping.

Although no precise sales figures are provided for 2020, the success of startups such as Fempo, with sales of 5.6 million euros in 2020, indicates solid market potential. French brands are increasingly manufacturing locally, attracting a domestic market focused on sustainability and craftsmanship. The market is still in its infancy compared with traditional sanitary products, with menstrual cups used by around 1-2% of women.

Leading players in the menstrual underwear market rely on online platforms to reach consumers, while some have also partnered with larger retailers for physical distribution.

Player segmentation includes mid-range players like Fempo and Smoon, high-end brands like Aglaé-Lingerie and Rèjeanne, and organic-focused companies like Lily Basic. Despite this diversity, the traditional intimate hygiene market remains largely dominated by long-established companies such as Johnson and Procter, which hold significant market shares

In recent years, the French menstrual health and hygiene market has seen a significant influx of innovative products focused on eco-consciousness and health safety.

At the heart of this trend is the growing demand for menstrual underwear, which seeks to address both comfort and environmental impacts thanks to its multi-layer technology certified by the Oeko Tex label, guaranteeing the absence of harmful substances. These products have seen an increase in variety, offering different models with different levels of absorbency and catering to the broad target population of French women, including more than half the French population with an estimated 10 to 15 million people actively seeking sanitary protection.

French women's menstrual hygiene practices traditionally involve a substantial budget, as they spend between 5 and 10 euros per cycle on protection and painkillers. That's almost 3,800 euros over the course of a lifetime.

Although the majority prefer the convenience of supermarket shopping, trends show an openness to other options. This is partly due to the fact that a significant proportion of women have faced financial constraints in purchasing these necessities. The adoption of menstrual underwear is influenced by a number of factors, including ecological awareness and increased health consciousness. Increasingly aware of environmental issues and the drawbacks of disposable products, French consumers are moving towards zero-waste options.

Health concerns, in particular the risks associated with toxic shock syndrome from tampons, are prompting women to consider safer alternatives such as menstrual underwear.

In the menstrual underwear landscape, French brands vary in their positioning, pricing and product offerings, creating a competitive and diverse market. Some brands focus on luxury and fashion, while others present their products from an ecological angle, using organically grown cotton and environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes.

On the regulatory front, the market remains largely unregulated in terms of specific health protection, but the European General Product Safety Directive oversees the more general aspects of safety. This directive ensures that products on the market are safe, and gives producers responsibility for risk assessment and consumer safety.

Despite innovations and growing interest, the menstrual hygiene market in France remains strongly oriented towards traditional disposable products. Sales figures for conventional sanitary pads and tampons show a predominant preference for external methods of protection.

However, this trend is changing, as shown by the emerging popularity of menstrual cups. Although they still represent only a small segment of the market, their growth in Europe reflects a broader shift towards sustainable menstrual products.

Against this backdrop, young companies specializing in alternative menstrual solutions are rapidly gaining ground and expanding their customer base thanks to unique offerings and an eco-centric brand image.

Main competitors in the dynamic menstrual underwear sector

The menstrual underwear market is full of innovative players, each bringing unique offerings to a landscape where consumer health and environmental awareness are growing concerns.

  • In the middle segment of the market, Fempo has marked its presence with a solid customer base, focusing on absorbent, washable panties that boast impressive sales figures.
  • Smoon, also classified in the mid-range category, advocates comfort and durability, reaching one million annual revenues in 2018.
  • Moodz and Sisters Republic both add to the diversity of choices in this segment, offering menstruators a variety of options in terms of design and functionality.
  • Moving up into the luxury segment, Aglaé-Lingerie offers a more refined, high-end experience with menstrual underwear that doesn't compromise on style, justified by sales of 3.4 million euros in 2019.
  • Réjeanne follows suit with premium offerings and significant sales achievement, marking its presence in the industry.
  • The organic arena includes conscious brands such as Lily Basic and Elia Lingerie, both of which focus their product lines on organic and sustainable materials, appealing to a demographic that is meticulous about the ecological footprint and health implications of the products they use.

Web traffic data indicates that entities such as Fempo, Smoon and Réjeanne aren't just making waves in the marketplace, garnering increased attention from consumers who frequently visit their websites, reflecting a renewed interest in menstrual underwear as a viable, comfortable and sustainable choice.

These leading players provide an insight into a market that is still in its infancy, but is rapidly gaining ground. As consumers continue to look for products that match their lifestyles and values, these innovative brands are well placed to meet and grow with the ever-changing market demand.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Market definition

Menstrual underwear or period underwear are synthetic or cotton panties that have an integrated absorbent part in the crotch with 4 layers, including an anti-moisture layer, a layer with anti-microbial action thanks to the introduction of silver fibres in the mesh of the panties, an absorbent layer and an anti-overflow layer. [ ANSES ]

Appeared in 2017 in the United States, menstrual panties are a more environmentally friendly and less harmful to health solution than traditional sanitary pads, making it very attractive. The potential of this product is great as very few women are equipped. Being a less widespread alternative, the adoption of menstrual panties requires however a phase of familiarization, and a good communication on the product, its functionalities and its mode of use is essential.

As menstrual panties are positioned on both the sanitary protection and underwear markets, there are many possibilities for differentiation: more and more brands are not content to offer panties with functional qualities, but propose different models, textures and colours, with the aim of seducing consumers.

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Répartition annuelle de la population féminine par classe d'âge
  • "Pourriez-vous utiliser des culottes menstruelles", en fonction de la protection hygiénique la plus souvent utilisée
  • Quel mode de protection hygiénique utilisez-vous le plus souvent en début de règle ?
  • Intérêt pour la recherche "culotte menstruelle" sur Google
  • Les motifs déterminants dans le choix de la protection hygiénique
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Latest news

Petits Culottés short-circuits supermarkets with baby diapers - 14/11/2023
  • Les Petits Culottés was created in 2019 in Paris. 12 employees.
  • In four years, the company has managed to win over around 80,000 parents.
  • The company's products are 15% cheaper than the competition thanks to online sales.
  • The company has its diapers manufactured by BB Distribe in Laval-sur-Vologne, Vosges.
  • Infant milk is purchased from a group of independent breeders in the Vendée region.
  • Present in some 50 maternity wards and in partnership with approximately 6,000 pharmacies.
  • The SME achieves sales of 42 million euros without raising capital.
Fempo, founded in 2017, offers menstrual panties with a second-skin effect. - 29/04/2021
  • 300.000 customers in Europe and North America
  • 18 employees
  • Products much more expensive than the competition (30% more)
  • Today, the brand has around twenty references
  • These washable, zero-waste, health-protecting panties are available for around thirty euros
  • In fact, after achieving sales of 5.6 million euros in 2020, they are forecasting sales of 11 million euros this year, out of a total market of 402.53 million euros in 2018

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. :

Aglaé Lingerie
Lily Basic
Sisters Republic
Elia Lingerie
Dans Ma Culotte
Wuka Wear

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