Amazon is the latest giant to dabble in the U.S. intimates space.
According to people familiar with the matter, Amazon will debut its own competitively priced intimates collection on its U.S. website in coming weeks, which could pose as a threat to other big lingerie companies, including Calvin Klein and Victoria’s Secret, The Wall Street Journal reported.
For many years, Calvin Klein and Victoria’s Secret have built their businesses on bras that sell from $30 to $40. Amazon currently sells $10 bras through its own intimates label, Iris & Lilly, in Europe. Amazon already dominates the e-commerce space with its convenient services and cut-rate prices, so should Amazon set up a similar intimates line domestically, this could cause consumers to opt for more affordable lingerie and shop less at other top intimates retailers.
Today, many millennial consumers favor simple sized lingerie, including bralettes, over push-up bras. This shift in consumer clothing preference makes it easier for e-tailers to secure buyers, despite concerns about finding the right fit online. To remedy this situation, some e-commerce retailers are offering consumers personalized surveys and free returns to make shopping for lingerie online an easier process.
Breaking into the undergarments sector, however, could be a challenge, especially for Amazon, which doesn’t have a physical store format and fitting rooms.
“Because it’s so close to your skin, women want to be able to touch the product to see if the material feels good,” lingerie consultant and bra fitter Kimmay Caldwell said. “Repeat customers might go to Amazon, but not someone who wants to make a purchase for the first time.”
Some lingerie brand executives, including ThirdLove co-founder Heidi Zak, also suggested that female consumers favor quality over pricing for their undergarments.
“Customers want to understand why you are designing something, how it is better and what you are doing for society,” Zak commented. “Amazon doesn’t have that.”
Although Amazon’s up-and-coming lingerie presence could shake up the U.S. lingerie sector, consumers will have the green light in choosing where they shop for their bras and panties. As the retail landscape remains uncertain, it will be up to traditional intimates retailers and newcomers, including Amazon, to fulfill consumers’ lingerie needs.