the shapewear market in China

The Chinese shapewear market seeks comfort and quality in domestic brands

The Chinese shapewear market is the largest in Asia. According to QYResearch, from the consumer side, China’s shapewear market accounted for 18% of global sales in 2018. China’s huge market demand and growth potential have attracted almost all international giants to carry out related businesses in China; at the same time, domestic shapewear companies represented by Huijie Group have also achieved rapid development in the past few years, and their domestic market share has continued to rise.

Famous brands in the Chinese shapewear market

In 2019, a “Top Ten Global Shapewear Brands Ranking” voted by global netizens was announced. The list of the shapewear brands was comprehensively scored and ranked based on network-wide big data analysis, comprehensive evaluation of netizens, and brand voice. The main scoring dimensions include the comfort, functionality, durability and aesthetics of the shapewear as the criteria for ranking. Among them, Chinese shapewear brands occupy 4 places. These are the top ten brands in the Chinese shapewear market.

GRACEWELL: Breathable, cost-effective shapewear

Founded in 1999, GRACEWELL is mainly engaged in the research, development and production of shaping underwear. The styles of shapewear are diverse, and the prices of the brand’s products are mostly between 150-270 yuan.

GRACEWELL body shaping products are known for being light, thin and breathable, as a result many styles are thin, which means the pressure level can only meet the requirements of moderate body shaping, so they are generally not suitable for users with heavy body shaping needs. At the same time, light and thin fabrics will inevitably bring the issue of product durability.

GRACEWELL’s fabric application is not much different from other brands. The brand uses double-layer fabrics, with a 2.5cm widened shoulder strap, a U-shaped chest support with a raised armpit design, and multiple back panels. The belt and other detailed cutting design can effectively disperse the pressure on the shoulders, gather the breasts and eliminate the influence of the secondary breasts while shaping the shape, and shape the effect of a smooth and beautiful back.

In addition, for shapewear, especially the one-piece shapewear that is time-consuming to take on and off, making it inconvenient to use the toilet, GRACEWELL also provides some solutions from the design, launching the front-breasted one-piece shapewear LL3743, which is easy to wear and tight. The abdomen and the crotch are also designed with open files, which is convenient for ladies to solve the toilet problem.

Different products in GRACEWELL Chinese shapewear market

Source: Baidu, Different products from GRACEWELL, a Chinese shapewear brand known for being light-weight

What’s more, GRACEWELL ranks to the first place in the Chinese shapewear branding effect ranking 2021 in the shapewear market in China according to CNPP.

Maniform: Higher percentage of spandex

Maniform is a well-known underwear brand in China. It was founded by Huijie Group in 1996 and was ranked first in the comprehensive market share of similar products for 8 consecutive years in 2005-2012.

Maniform shapewear is about 40% spandex, which is 20-30% higher than the industry average. Therefore, it is more elastic as a whole and can effectively compress the excess fat on the body to achieve the ideal shaping effect, but it needs to be worn for a long time before it starts feeling comfortable.

In addition to the usage of elastic fabrics, Maniform also uses a skeleton made of plastic materials, which is seen in the combination of waist and body shaping pants or skirts. Using four plastic bones powerfully sculpts the waist, abdomen, and hips, the waist double-layer compression design and the back three-dimensional hip lift design are separately shaped. The slender waist and hips are priced at only about 100 yuan after folding, which is quite cost-effective, but it is also not suitable for long-term wear.

Source: Vipshop, Maniform shaping skirt emphasizes design and compression

If it is only for the waist and abdomen, customers can consider choosing light series or medium-sized Meisu Huayu series girdle, both of which use a double layer design of lining and fabric, but the proportion of fabric is different. The light series are composed of 70% nylonand 30% spandex fabric, while the medium-sized Meisu Huayu series are composed of 63% nylon and 37% spandex fabric. The encrypted side uses 55% nylon + 45% spandex. Huayu has stronger elasticity and good shaping effect. The price is about 500 yuan, which is almost twice that of the light series.

 Maniform light series, in contrast to their standard products which are more heavy duty, Chinese shapewear market

Source: smzdm, Maniform light series, in contrast to their standard products which are more heavy duty, the light series is more breathable

Maniform recently released mesh products will be suitable for those who don’t like too tight-fitting shapewear. This type of shapewear is mainly light and non-marking.

EmbryForm: Many diverse underwear brands

EmbryForm is also a veteran underwear brand. It has participated in the formulation of a number of industry standards in the swimsuit and underwear industry. It has been the number one in sales in the national market for 11 consecutive years. Although sales performance has fluctuated in 2020, it is still in the leading position in China’s women’s underwear market.

EmbryForm is not only a manufacturer of women’s underwear, but also a diversified enterprise, also producing shapewear and swimwear. Brands including EmbryForm, Fandecie, COMFIT, Liza Cheng and E-Bra are all sub-brands of EmbryForm Group.

EmbryForm shapewear products are mainly provided by its sub-brand Comfit. The fabrics used are diverse. In addition to the common nylon and spandex blends, some styles also add a certain proportion of viscose and modal fibers, and they are soft and close to the body, which becomes the most important feature of this kind of fiber. These two types of fabrics are very suitable for those who want to have a certain degree of elasticity and comfortable underwear.

Advertisement on shapewear of Comfit emphasizes the "s" shape Chinese shapewear market

Source: Comfit, Advertisement on shapewear of Comfit emphasizes the “s” shape

However, the elasticity of viscose fiber and modal fiber used in shapewear is relatively poor, and the fabric itself is not enough to achieve a significant shaping effect. Therefore, Comfit, which is positioned as a “beautiful breast shaping”, turns to use cutting to create a graceful curve. For example, the deep V cut on the front panel and the design with a cup make it visually full and straight. The crotch of the press buckle is convenient for daily wear, and putting on and off, and the detailed design is quite intimate.

EmbryForm also has a velvet thermal body shaping vest. In addition to the U-shaped cut on the chest, an additional shaping bra is required to achieve a certain breast lifting effect. The waistline is cut relatively straight and does not have a good waist and abdomen shaping function, which may be more suitable for use as a base thermal underwear in autumn and winter.

Aimer: Quality on-par with foreign brands, but built with Chinese consumers in mind

Aimer is one of the well-deserved leading brands in the Chinese underwear industry. It has participated in the formulation of a number of underwear industry standards such as “Knitted Shaped Underwear Adjustment Type” and “Bra”. It ranks among the top two in Chinese underwear market share all year round, and its consumer groups cover mature women, men and children.

The classification of Aimer’s body shaping products is very clear, including adjustable bras, corsets, plastic pants or skirts, one-piece shapewear and waist seals. Compared with foreign brands, its biggest advantage is that as a local brand it is quite convenient to buy products on each platform.

Aimer shapewear relies on the combination of fabric characteristics and cutting design to create a graceful female figure, which is different from foreign brands such as Spanx, Leonisa or Wacoal who prefer to rely on fabric characteristics or clever tailoring to achieve a shaping effect. The average price of Aimer products ranging from 600 to 1,000 yuan is close to similar foreign products in shapewear market, much higher than the Chinese underwear brands.

The basic ratio of the Aimer shapewear material is about 70% nylon and 30% spandex. Compared with foreign brands, this index is not much different. It not only ensures that the shapewear is strong and wear-resistant, but also has a certain elasticity to shape. The style is cut with a fixed wide shoulder strap, which helps comfort and slow pressure and improves wearing stability. The V-shaped design of the back panel fits the skin closely, which is convenient for shaping a flat and beautiful back.

As a local Chinese brand, there is another obvious difference between Aimer and foreign brands such as Spanx and Leonisa in the breast design of the shapewear. Most foreign brand shapewear is designed with open chests, which is convenient for women to wear with low-cut dresses, while local brand shapewear like Aimer focuses more on breast shaping, most of which have removable cups for daily cleaning.

Differences between the shapewear of Aimer and foreign brands Chinese shapewear market

Source: Spanx, Aimer, Differences between the shapewear of Aimer and foreign brands

Aimer’s one-piece shapewear is also divided into underwire underwear and bralette bra. The underwire style can better gather the breast shape, and the bralette bra is more comfortable to the body. It is suitable for summer wear, but at the same time gathers the chest shape. However, as a result, its effect is not as obvious as the underwire style.

Trends in the Chinese shapewear market

Products in the shapewear market in China are usually designed according to the physique characteristics of Asians, but at the same time also follow the world latest trend and manufacturing technology. The celebrity effect in different social medias especially Xiaohongshu make people pay more attention to their body shape, which will also accelerate the development of the shapewear market.

What’s more, in recent years, we have seen a clear rise in the number of new Chinese underwear brands. The result of this rapid development is the positioning of the domestic underwear market instead of the “sexy” shift to “comfortable.” This trend has accelerated the growth of new underwear brands like Bananain, Ubras and Neiwai. According to iiMedia Consulting, the demand for comfortable underwear among women aged 15 to 64 has doubled over the past ten years. As a result, the future development of products in shapewear market in China should not only focus on the shaping function, but also avoiding discomfort.

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