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Sexy Sells: Lingerie Sales Weather Recession

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Despite the chilly economic climate, certain industries are heating up, a new report suggests. A study of the lingerie industry in the United Kingdom shows that the market for fashionable knickers has steadily increased since 2008.

The report from the independent marketing firm Research and Markets suggests several reasons for the recent increase in sales. Researchers said that, for one thing, more female consumers have been purchasing low-end intimate items as "inexpensive treats" in recent years.

The popularity of erotic novels, such as EL James' "Fifty Shades of Grey," can also partly explain the newfound success of racy apparel for women, the report says.

The lingerie market has also expanded in recent years to include more shapewear options for women, with brands like SPANX, Yummie Tummie and Body Wrap offering products that cater to a range of tastes and budgets. Researcher said that shapewear, and the new product development it represents, has definitely helped increase overall revenues for the lingerie industry.

However, the report suggests that while the demand for shapewear and other high-end items is still on the rise, the low-end skivvies market is on the decline. Researchers said more female shoppers are now forsaking low-cost lingerie in favor of more expensive options. And if underpants are any indication of a warming economic climate, then perhaps this latest trend is a good sign for retail industries across the board.

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Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth writes about innovative technologies and business trends. She has traveled throughout the Americas in her roles as student, English teacher, Spanish language interpreter and freelance writer. She graduated with a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University. You can follow her on Twitter @techEpalermo or .