Underwear plays an important role in keeping outer garments sanitary and preserved.
Because of the amount of sweat and bodily fluids that underwear collects over time, it’s a good idea to buy new sets often.
However, when buying underwear, you may find that they come at a high price.
Underwear costs anywhere from $10 to $30 with some luxury brands costing even more than that.
Here are 10 reasons underwear is so expensive.
Why Is Underwear So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Markup Prices
One of the reasons that underwear is expensive is the nature of business.
Any retailer that you buy from is going to mark up its prices.
That’s to help the store earn a profit.
A markup is the amount of profit that a retailer earns on an item.
As an example, if a piece of underwear cost them $5 to buy or make, and they sell it for $20, then their profit is $15.
The markup is thus $15.
In retail, a lot of businesses will discuss markup percentages.
You can calculate a markup percentage by dividing the gross profit by the sales price.
Sometimes retailers will place a higher markup price on a selection of underwear that they know will sell well or is in high demand.
This generates the most profit for the seller.
However, they might also choose to put a high markup percentage on a product because they intend to spend a lot of money marketing it.
Even if they earn a high profit on the item, the indirect costs of marketing will cut into their profits.
Markups make underwear expensive because they’re entirely dependent on the retailer in question.
If the retailer needs to cover some overall costs, then they might charge more for the products that are selling well.
That might be certain brands of underwear.
If they have too much inventory, then they may have a low markup to encourage customers to buy the underwear that’s on sale.
Some stores just notoriously have higher markup percentages than others.
If you want a specific brand of underwear, then it’s worth checking the different stores that sell it.
You may find that some retailers charge a higher markup than others.
Underwear is expensive when retailers put a high markup percentage on the product.
2. Brand Name
Another big reason that underwear is expensive has to do with it being a brand name or generic.
Brand names always carry higher prices than generic brands.
That’s because, in the world of fashion, most brand names correlate with a designer.
If the designer has a reputation for providing high-quality clothing, there’s more interest in their products.
Consumers will expect a certain brand known for creating comfortable fashion to also create comfortable underwear.
There’s some understanding behind higher prices on brand-name products.
It takes time for brands to prove to their consumers that they’re worth the extra money.
They have to build trust and prove that their products are high-quality or solve a particular problem that the person is having.
Once they prove that they’re the best, then they can rely on brand loyalty.
People trust the brand because they’ve proven time and again that their products are as good as they say they are.
This then allows the brand to increase its prices because there’s more demand for its products.
Consumers are more willing to pay for a higher-priced product from a brand that they know than a brand that they don’t know.
That’s because, even though they’re paying more for the underwear, they also know that it’s a safe bet that the underwear is going to meet their expectations.
An unknown brand or a generic brand doesn’t have that kind of trust yet.
Consumers are less willing to gamble their money to determine whether the underwear is worth the value or not.
Brand names also spend a lot of money on marketing to show and prove why their underwear is the best.
That adds to the cost of operations for businesses, which means they need to sell at higher prices to make up for the cost.
Underwear is expensive if it carries a brand name.
3. Luxury Packaging
Because underwear rests against vulnerable areas on the body, most brands choose to put them in some type of packaging.
This is especially true if you’re buying underwear that comes in packs.
Some brands go above and beyond, however, and use luxury packaging for their underwear.
That makes underwear expensive for a few different reasons.
The first is that the materials cost the brand more money.
They already have to spend a good amount of money on the materials to make the underwear.
They also have other costs like marketing and shipping to calculate.
Packaging materials can be cheap or expensive.
Luxury packaging tends to be on the expensive side.
That’s because they’ll use high-quality materials to ensure the underwear arrives safe and securely.
Another reason luxury packaging makes underwear more expensive is that brands will spend extra money on presentation.
Even simply opening the box is an experience.
It might mean that they have expensive tissue paper that you need to unfold.
It might mean the interior of the box is in silk.
Some brands may even put a few small gifts in with the underwear to make it even more special.
When brands choose to send their underwear in luxury packaging, then you usually end up paying more.
You’re paying for more than the underwear.
You’re paying for the entire experience.
Underwear is expensive when it is wrapped in luxury packaging.
4. Designer Elements
Another aspect that makes underwear expensive is if they have any designer elements on them.
As an example, some brands will put a logo, motto, or even their name on the elastic bands on the underwear.
This little detail may make the underwear look cooler or nicer, but it also makes it cost more.
That’s because they usually need to have someone sew the logo or name by hand.
In such a small place, it’s difficult for machines to sew small, delicate designer elements.
Since they rely on human workers for the final detailing work, they have to pay those workers.
That adds to the cost of producing the underwear, which adds to its selling price.
Another problem with designer elements is that it takes a bit more time to complete the underwear.
That little detail could take several minutes to make.
If it’s an intricate logo, then it may even take an hour for the worker to complete.
Since it takes more time, it costs more to make since the worker receives more pay for their time.
It also means that the brand isn’t able to get as many pieces of underwear out as they might like.
With fewer leaving the factory, there are fewer out in the market to sell and earn them a profit.
Finally, it uses a bit more material to make those designer elements.
That adds to the overall cost of the production of the underwear.
When underwear has designer elements like logos or brand names on the elastic bands, it makes the underwear more expensive.
5. High-Quality Cotton
In most cases, the material used to make underwear is cotton.
That’s because cotton is soft, and since underwear is right up against your skin, you want something soft there.
The idea of wearing itchy underwear is enough to drive one mad.
The problem with cotton is that it isn’t always cheap.
There are different grades of cotton, however.
Some companies use low-grade cotton to help keep their underwear affordable.
While these pairs of underwear are still soft, they also degrade faster.
That requires the wearers to buy more underwear over time.
Other brands, particularly those that sell expensive underwear, use high-quality cotton.
Cotton prices are likely to surge by 40% in 2022 and beyond.
There are several reasons behind the increase in price.
One of the biggest reasons is the drought that Western Texas is experiencing.
This is the area that produces the most cotton in the country.
The problem with drought is that the cotton plants aren’t getting enough water.
When they don’t have enough water, either they don’t blossom or they die.
If they do manage to blossom, then they might not yield enough cotton to make it worth the venture.
Since cotton farmers are dealing with a drought, many have to buy water and bring it in to water their plants.
That adds to their expenses.
Others have no choice but to sell what they have at higher prices since they have to make up for the yield that they missed out on.
Demand for cotton has also increased.
China is one of the countries with the biggest amount of demand.
With high demand for the product and low supply, it’s made the price of cotton extremely high.
This becomes a problem for underwear makers who have to buy expensive cotton and make underwear out of it.
They then have to sell their underwear at higher prices to cover the cost of production.
Underwear is expensive because cotton prices are high.
6. Silk Underwear
While cotton is the most common type of material used for underwear, some brands use silk instead.
Silk is a luxury material because it takes a lot of time to make.
Silk comes from silkworms, which produce the fine strands over time.
To get the silkworms to produce silk, farmers have to keep them in ideal conditions and feed them healthy diets.
Since they only produce so much silk over time, farmers often need to have a lot of silkworms to produce enough silk to make a profit.
The problem with silkworms is that they’re expensive to buy, too.
Since they make a coveted material, they come at high prices.
Silk also offers some benefits that increase the price of underwear.
For one, many brands claim that silk is hypoallergenic.
This means that it doesn’t cause common allergies that cotton or other materials can.
It also has a better moisture absorbency than cotton.
That allows silk underwear to last longer.
Since it lasts longer, people have to buy fewer pairs, which means brands need to have a higher price on the underwear since they can’t rely on frequent repeat sales.
The absorbency also makes silk underwear more comfortable to wear.
All these added qualities make an ideal pair of underwear.
Since silk is a luxury material, underwear made of silk is often associated with sexual attraction.
People feel more attractive wearing it for themselves or their partners.
To increase the chances of getting a positive reaction from their partners, consumers will pay more for silk underwear rather than cotton underwear.
Silk underwear is expensive because it’s an expensive material that has several benefits over standard cotton underwear.
7. Stretch Technology
Common underwear design features a simple pair of underwear with elastic bands.
It’s when you start getting into other underwear technology brands that the price starts to increase.
One of the reasons underwear is expensive is that some of them have stretch technology.
Underwear with stretch technology goes beyond mere elastic bands.
They use different materials that make wearing the underwear extremely comfortable.
The material stretches and moves with you to keep a snug fit without cutting into your skin.
That’s an improvement over elastic bands since elastic bands can only stretch so much.
At some point, they’re unable to stretch any further, which means the bands start to rub and cut into your skin instead.
Besides being uncomfortable, it can also cause blisters.
Stretch technology removes that annoyance but it does so at a higher price.
For one, it costs more to make underwear with stretch technology because the company uses higher-quality materials than elastic.
It also tends to use different designs that may require more sophisticated machinery or even requires hand-sewing from workers.
Since production costs on underwear with stretch technology are higher, the price of it is also higher.
Underwear is expensive when it has stretch technology because of the expense of production.
8. Mesh Or Breathable Materials
Stretch technology isn’t the only thing driving up the price of underwear.
Different materials like mesh or different designs like vents also increase the price.
Mesh is a heavily produced material that is far more expensive to make than cotton.
The benefit of mesh is that it’s breathable.
It makes the underwear have an easier time reducing sweat and heat inside of it.
With more breathability, the area beneath the underwear can stay cool and comfy.
This can increase comfort as well as reduce worries about having overheated genitals.
Vents are another way that some underwear brands have chosen to help alleviate the overheating problem with underwear.
Small slits in the underwear allow air to pass through and brush against the skin.
Both mesh and vents make underwear more expensive because it adds to the cost of production.
Whether it’s the material itself or more time spent on making the vents, since the production costs are higher, the price for the underwear also has to be higher.
Underwear is expensive when it has either mesh or vents to make it more breathable.
9. Licensed Graphics Or Characters
Underwear is also expensive when it has intellectual property associated with it.
For example, you may see underwear that has Disney characters on it or Star Wars characters or even the logo of a band.
If the underwear has a license attached to its design, then it’s going to cost more.
That’s because the brand has to pay certain fees to use that character or logo on their products.
Since it costs them money, they have to make up for the lost money through higher prices.
They also know that people are more willing to buy underwear featuring their favorite character or band because they’re fans.
Some might want to buy it because it gives them a bit of personality.
Anyone can buy white or grey underwear, but not everyone will have underwear with the Death Star on it.
That sense of uniqueness is worth the extra price to them.
You’ll often find that underwear that has some sort of licensed character or logo on it will cost more than underwear that’s just colored or white.
Underwear with licensed properties on them is expensive because of the cost of licensing.
10. Extra Features
One last reason underwear is expensive is that some pairs come with extra features.
For example, some luxury brands actually make pockets on their underwear.
Since it takes extra time to make a pocket, as well as materials, that underwear costs more.
Other designers might have special zippers designed to make putting on and off the underwear easier.
That also takes extra time and costs in the production stage.
For those who want themed underwear, some come with tails or other silly extras.
Since it uses more materials, it’s going to cost more.
When underwear comes with extra features, you can expect it to be more expensive.
How To Save Money On Underwear
If you’re in dire need of a new pair of underwear, then there are a few ways that you can save money when buying them.
First, you should look for multi-packs of underwear.
If you buy cheap underwear, then they’re going to degrade faster than more expensive types.
By buying a package, you have several pieces of underwear that you can use over a longer time.
Another way to save money is to look for combos.
You can sometimes buy pajamas that come with an extra pair of underwear, for example.
The cost of the underwear is usually discounted since it’s included with the pajamas.
Finally, you should stick with basic cotton underwear that doesn’t have any licensed characters on it.
The more basic you go, the cheaper the underwear will be.
Underwear is expensive due to the materials used in its production and whether it has any designer features or extras.
The brand name also plays an important role in inflating the price of underwear.
By sticking with generic brands and keeping your underwear basic, you can still find cheap underwear.