The Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor, an ongoing study that tracks consumers' attitudes and behaviours towards shopping, fashion and other related topics, reports that 46 per cent of all women surveyed prefer cotton bras; bras made of blended fabrics lag behind as the number two choice with only 12 per cent.

Karen Bromley, spokesperson for the Intimate Apparel Group, explains: "Cotton bras are doing particularly well because they're comfortable and they breathe."

According to the Monitor, women own an average of 11 bras; a startling 22 per cent own more than 13 of the undergarments, while 23 per cent have 5 or 6.

The NPD Group's recent NPDFashionworld Women's Bra Report says women purchase bras 3.4 times per year and buy an average of 2.5 bras each time they shop. In addition, The NPD Group reports the majority of bras are bought in discount stores such as Wal-Mart, Kmart or Target. However, younger women, 18-24 years, are more likely to shop at a specialty store such as Victoria's Secret than consumers over the age of 35.

While cotton bras generally come in basic white, black and nude, demand for colour is changing this category's offerings, making for a more lively selection.

Jim Noble, senior vice president for the Jockey brand, says: "We've been in the intimate business for more than twenty years, but we didn't introduce our first bra line until three years ago. We found our niche in cotton bras and it soon became a significant programme for us."

As to why cotton bras have become so popular, Noble says the first reason is "comfort with a capital 'C.' It is a 'feel good' product that takes colour very well." Jockey now offers its cotton bras in fun colors such as green, violet and yellow to appeal to a younger-minded customer.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

Hosiery, Lingerie & Underwear

The 2000 World Forecasts of Corsets, Brassieres, and Suspenders Export Supplies