Underwear – The New Economic Indicator

We just had to laugh at a story in this morning’s Washington Post on underwear as a new economic indicator.

The basic story line goes like this, “Sales of men’s underwear typically are stable because they rank as a necessity.  But during times of severe financial strain, men will try to stretch the time between buying new pairs, causing underwear sales to dip. . . . It’s like trying to drive your car an extra 10,000 miles.”

The men’s underwear index, or MUI, has received a thumbs up from no less an authority than Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Statistically, men buy an average of 3.4 pairs of underwear in a year.

From 2004-2008, the number of men buying single pairs at a time increased from 5 percent to 8 percent but, the cohort of men buying packs of four or more fell slightly from 68 to 66 percent – thus indicating that shoppers may be trying to save money by buying only when necessary.

(Ummmmmmm, wonder what constitutes necessary?)

Retailers Sears and Target report a upswing in sales over the past two months, with multi-packs gaining ground.

Now all this is all very interesting but there are two key questions that I think deserve further exploration.

1) How do these sales figures break down among single and married men?

2) Is there a preference for boxers or briefs?

Please, if you would like to add something from your own experience, we would love to hear from you.

Inquiring minds want to know!

But if you just want to read the article, click here.

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