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Underwear on the up

By Matt Hodges | China Daily | Updated: 2014-04-14 07:14

Underwear on the up

Triumph's sales have been growing at 10 to 20 percent a year in big mainland cities, according to Louis Lin, China CEO of Triumph.

Underwear on the up
Luxury travelers
Underwear on the up
Highlights of Shanghai Fashion Week F/W 2014
A seismic shift on Taobao recently hints at the potential future landscape of consumption that is both exciting and frustrating retailers.

China's top e-commerce platform saw record bra sales on Nov 11, an annual celebration for singles in China dubbed "anti-Valentine's Day". Women's underwear accounted for the lion's share of its total daily sales of 6.7 billion yuan ($1.07 billion), off-loading 1.6 million bras in the first hour, Taobao said.

Despite Triumph's travails, and its preference for brick-and-mortar stores over e-commerce, the company is now considered one of the top four innerwear brands in China.

Domestic brand Aimer tops the market with a 12-percent share, according to data from the National Commercial Information Center of China. Gujin, Embry Form and Maniform, all Chinese brands, have stakes of around 10 percent each, as does Triumph.

Triumph's flagship store at Shanghai's Grand Gateway Mall sells around 30 pieces a day, according to a clerk there surnamed Li. She says she used to sell three of its new-line products a day on average but now sells almost twice as many.

Company sales have been growing at 10 to 20 percent a year in Shanghai, Beijing and other top-tier cities, according to Lin. Among its various brands, eponymous Triumph is the most popular in China, followed by Sloggi for younger women and Valisere at the luxury end.

Accelerating sales are also encouraging other big-name foreign brands to enter the Chinese market. Victoria's Secret is launching fragrances and accessories to test the waters before introducing its bedroom lingerie.

"We're targeting high-end consumers in the 25-to-45 age bracket," says Lin. "Not necessarily high-spending, but more experienced women with higher needs psychologically who are more confident and who really care about themselves."

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