Victoria’s Secret holds an impressive 61.8% of the lingerie market, according to IBIS World.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t brands that could potentially diminish that stronghold on the market.
These are five brands that Cora Harrington, the lingerie expert behind the successful blog The Lingerie Expert, thinks that consumers should be on the lookout for.
Harrington stresses that it would take a while for these brands to overtake Victoria’s Secret, but they are still worth paying attention to.
More importantly, they challenge some aspects of Victoria’s Secret’s business.
Harrington points out that Journelle has “more fashion-forward silhouettes and better quality materials” than Victoria’s Secret. Harrington points to Journelle’s unique branding.
ThirdLove has made waves for its unique app that promises a properly fitting bra.
“ThirdLove’s smartphone bra fitting app is one of the most exciting developments in the world of intimate apparel, and could be a major disruptor in an industry that still heavily relies on brick-and-mortar stores to move product. ThirdLove speaks directly to the way many consumers, especially younger ones, prefer to shop — at their own pace, in the privacy of their own home,” Harrington wrote.
ThirdLove has even secured a round of investment from one of Victoria’s Secret’s former CEOs, furthering the notion that industry veterans believe in the company.
3. L’Agent by Agent Provocateur
Agent Provocateur is a luxury lingerie company — some of the bras run for hundreds of dollars — but Harrington points to its more affordable off-shoot, L’Agent.
“L’Agent by Agent Provocateur could conceivably be a sleeper assassin for Victoria’s Secret…all the more so because this label’s growth has been under-reported by the media and trade publications,” Harrington wrote.
Business Insider has highlighted Aerie’s choice to abandon Photoshop, which appears to be a direct blow to Victoria’s Secret heavily altered imagery. The company has seen tremendous growth since implementing its #AerieREAL campaign; comparable sales increased 20% for fiscal 2015. The price point is just right for young consumers; the retailer frequently has 7-for-$27.50 deals.
“Of course, no analysis of [Victoria’s Secret’s] major [competitors] is complete without mentioning Aerie,” Harrington wrote. “Aerie’s new campaigns appeal to that all-important younger demographic, and because of the high brand loyalty attached to bras and intimates (once people find a brand and style they like, they’re loathe to change), Aerie will likely to continue to see double-digit profits for years to come. These profits could fuel a brick and mortar expansion that, combined with their new ‘body-positive’ marketing, would make customers see them as a better alternative to Victoria’s Secret.”
Make no mistake — the company has a plan to expand. After the ICR conference in Orlando in January, RBC Capital Markets pointed out in a note that the company would be “doubling” from about $260 million in sales in fiscal-year 2014 — meaning the company should be making over $500 million in sales in the coming years.
“I see Aerie as this generation’s Pink [Victoria’s Secret’s younger brand],” she wrote. “A lot of major intimate apparel companies underestimated the value of directly targeting teenagers and young adults at Pink’s debut a decade or so ago, but those teenage customers turned into adults who elected to spend their lingerie money at VS. Aerie could be working on a similar strategy.”
The final company on this list might come as a surprise, but Amazon’s fashion sector is already threatening traditional retailers — so why shouldn’t it pose a threat to traditional lingerie companies?
“It may seem a bit strange to put a behemoth like Amazon here, but the online retailer has been investing heavily in their intimate apparel department and has the distinct market advantage of being a place being already shop all the time anyway,” Harrington wrote. “Amazon also has a rich reviews section, and impeccable cross-product marketing capabilities. The downside is that the actual shopping experience is not very luxurious or pleasurable, but the vast array of products will more than make up for that for some customers.”
The company has also made sure to tap into the increasingly important plus size sector; the photo above features plus-size supermodel Denise Bidot.
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