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From preventing embarrassing leaks to saving the plant, period pants are turning into the underwear saviour for Britain’s savvy women, as latest research from Mintel reveals around one fifth (19%) of women have purchased period underwear** in the last year.

The potential popularity of this eco-friendly underwear is confirmed by the fact that a third (33%) of women are interested in purchasing period underwear in the future, rising to almost half (48%) of Younger Millennial females (aged 25-31).

But while period pants are proving to be an appealing option, usage of other reusable sanitary protection products*** such as reusable sanitary pads (10%), menstrual cups (7%) and reusable tampons (5%) remains low. Hygiene remains the biggest barrier to use, as six in ten (59%) non-users**** believe they are not as hygienic to use as disposable options.

Tamara Sender, Senior Consumer analyst, said:

“Period pants are no longer a niche product, with one in five British women buying a pair in the last year. We have already seen big fashion retailers such as Puma, M&S and Primark looking to grab a share of this growing market by adding period underwear to their ranges, as well as brands expanding into new areas such as period sportswear and swimwear. Period pants tap into rising awareness of the impact fashion is having on the environment, as well as financial concerns, making them increasingly relevant in the current climate.

“Given that almost half of Younger Millennial females, who – according to our research – have become the most conscious about buying sustainable fashion, are interested in purchasing period underwear, this provides huge opportunities for this burgeoning category.

“Interest in reusable sanitary protection products is high, and while they are seen as better for the environment and better value than disposable products, they are also seen as messy and more inconvenient. The reusables category has the potential for some savvy innovation to address the hygiene factor currently associated with their use.”

Brits are putting used PJs and underwear to good use

Love of the planet is going beyond the monthly menstrual cycle as Brits are putting their unwanted undies and PJs to good use too. Over four in ten (44%) consumers say they recycled unwanted underwear and nightwear in the past year, rising to over half (52%) of Millennials (aged 25-40).

This comes as almost a quarter (23%) of shoppers say they are interested in brands offering underwear and nightwear made from recycled materials. While a third (32%) of shoppers would like retailers to offer more choices of sustainable underwear and nightwear. Overall, three in ten (29%) shoppers say they check the sustainability of the fashion brand before purchasing.

Tamara Sender, Senior Consumer analyst, said:

“The sustainable fashion scene has been one of the fastest growing trends in the sector. Newly launched underwear brands tend to have more of a focus on sustainable fabrics and ethical practices, as consumers look for products with less of an environmental impact. As concerns around the environment increase, this will lead to rising demand for underwear and nightwear made from more sustainable fabrics, using natural dyes and recycled materials, as well as more transparency around supply chains.”

*Consumers who have purchased underwear and nightwear for themselves in the past 12 months ending August 2021.

**Leak-proof underwear designed especially for the days of menstruation.

***548 female and transgender male internet users aged 18+ who menstruate.

****non-users who are not interested in using them