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Want to Stimulate the Economy? Buy Underpants


Because nothing says “stimulation” than seeing that the men’s underwear market is a US$5 billion a year industry, give or take a little.

And these business analysts say that the economic ups-and-downs we’ve been experiencing lately are all tied to how often men purchase their tighty-whiteys, boxers, boxer briefs, thongs(!), and banana hammocks.  (Web Watch includes those latter items for our European and more adventurous readers.)

The reason the analysts equate underwear purchases with a growing economy is that men tend to purchase approximately 3.4 pairs of underwear a year.  Looking at trends, they show that there was an increase in men buying single pairs of underwear from 2004 to 2008 (from 5% to 8%), while men who bought the handy multi-pack fell from 68% to 66% in the same time frame.

No, Web Watch does not want to know what those other 25% of men did about their underwear purchases during that same time period.

There was a dip in purchases from 2008 to 2009, as there were in many other retail segments.

Sears, Target, and online underwear retailer all are showing an increase in men’s underwear sales over the past two months, confirming that while underwear sales are still down, it’s a smaller decline than last year.

The theory?  If men are starting to buy underwear again, the economy must be picking up.

The analysts concluded that men only buy underwear only when they feel they can afford to buy new, not when the existing pair is old or worn out.  In other words, there is a rational reason that men like to wear their underwear until it literally falls off – it’s a money-saving act, a game to see how long one could actually go until that point is reached.

No word on what the economy does when women go commando.