A new report on the underwear shopping habits of British men paints a picture of unsophisticated consumers who rely on their partners to buy their underwear, and only buy new underwear when the old needs replacing. The latest research from consumer market analyst Mintel also suggests that comfort and fit are more important than style.

When it comes to their underwear, British men look for comfort and fit rather than style according to a new report from Mintel, the UK consumer market analyst. The latest research reveals that for 54 per cent of British men, comfort and fit is more important than style, with just 3 per cent looking for underwear that "makes them feel sexy". Surprisingly, this is even the case for over 40 per cent of 15-24 year olds. Over a third of men rely on their partner or wife to buy their underwear, while 30 per cent only buy new underwear when the old needs replacing. Marks and Spencer is Britain's favourite shopping outlet for underwear.

The Practical Man
The findings, which come from a survey of around 1000 men, found geographical differences too. The Scot, for example, are the least likely to look for comfort, with just 46 per cent preferring comfort compared with almost two thirds of those living in Yorkshire and the north east. Almost one in three men only buy new underwear when the old needs replacing, peaking to over 41 per cent of the 55 and over age group. Those living in Scotland and London are the least likely to only buy replacement underwear. Just 3 per cent of men wear underwear that makes them feel sexy, while 10 per cent opt for thermal underwear in the winter.

Last Of The Big Spenders!
Over one third of all men only have their underwear bought for them by their partner, peaking to around fifty per cent of the 45-54 age group. Those men living in Scotland and London are the most likely to buy their own underwear, with just 25 per cent of Londoners relying on their wife or partner.

The average man spent less than £14 on underwear for himself in the past 12 months, and just 16 per cent spent over £20. Of the 45 per cent of women purchasing men's underwear, the majority are low spenders, with only 9 per cent of women spending over £20 on men's underwear in 1999. "The clothing industry has to accept that, for many men, all their purchases are made by women, and it is therefore essential that manufacturers target accordingly," comments James McCoy, senior consumer goods consultant.

M&S - Family Favourite
Almost 40 per cent of men had purchased men's underwear from Marks and Spencer in the past six months, and those most likely to have purchased were aged 45-54. In general, those preferring to shop there tend to be over the age of 35.

Almost one in five purchase from a department store, while the supermarket is used by one in ten respondents, and particularly favoured among the 25-34 age range.

Boxers Or Briefs?
Some 40 per cent of men prefer boxers to briefs while, for 35 per cent, briefs are a preference. Age seems to be the greatest determinant when looking at preference, with almost 70 per cent of 15-24 year old men favouring boxer shorts compared with the 24 per cent of men aged 65 and over. Briefs are most popular with those aged 35 and over. In terms of region the Scots are twice as likely to prefer boxers to briefs, with over 50 per cent preferring boxers.