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Men's underwear sales down in India: Should you worry?

Monday, February 27, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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Recently, reports stated that rural consumption is down in India. With inflation on the rise in recent weeks, there are fears that consumer sentiment has taken a beating. If this continues, India's growth story could be affected until inflation comes down significantly later this calendar year. (It is predicted to, as per a recent RBI report).

Meanwhile, Economic Times has stoked fears by pointing out that underwear sales were down quarter ending December 2022. Men's innerwear sales dropped by 55%, with big brands Jockey, Lux Cozy and even Rupa showing large drops. The report says that, as per renowned economist Alan Greenspan, this could be a symptom of economic slowdown.

If men are not buying underwear as much as they used to, it means they are not spending as much money as they used to (for whatever reason). If they are not spending money on something as important as underwear, it means their spending and their family's spending have been less on many fronts. If overall consumption is underwhelming, one must fear that economic growth will be affected badly in due course of time.

But others are skeptical of Greenspan's Men's Underwear Index. The theory has had its share of critics. In 2019, when the economy was slowing down before the pandemic, The Print wrote a report saying that GST and demonetization can be blamed for men not buying underwear. At that time, the drop in underwear sales was noticeable enough. "On average, the entire innerwear industry is facing a fall in sales by 20-25 percent," a manufacturer told The Print in October of that year.

On balance, it seems worries are bloated for now. India's economy was hardly in the doldrums when the fall was registered. It's the pandemic and the lockdown that did our economy in for a while.

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