Although L Brands was in pursuit of a buyer for Victoria’s Secret, the retailer has decided to spin off the intimates brand into its own publicly traded company. It’s been an up-and-down year for retail, and Victoria’s Secret has faced its share of struggles.
After receiving some notable backlash in the past few years for its marketing tactics – which some critics said are not inclusive to all body types – Victoria’s Secret might appear to be on the ropes compared to its more ostensibly inclusive or Gen Z-friendly competitors. But despite routine ebbs and flows thus far in 2021, the underwear brand generally polls near 30% favorability among women, according to a recent CivicScience study.
Even with fairly strong favorability ratings, women 18 and older have said they would shop for intimate apparel at Target rather than Victoria’s Secret.
Aerie, a chief competitor with a stronger emphasis on inclusivity as well as comfort, has also been chipping away at Victoria’s Secret’s market share. And yet, CivicScience data show women are twice as unfavorable toward the brand as they were in February of this year.
This is something of a surprising trend line, but Aerie is a polarizing brand among young women. An equal percentage of women ages 18 to 24 view the retailer favorably as unfavorably, whereas Victoria’s Secret outpaces its favorability in every age bracket among women.
Nearly half of women who view Victoria’s Secret favorably place a stronger emphasis on the brand name over the price tag. As you might expect, given its lower-cost line of products, Aerie shoppers overwhelmingly lean in favor of the price rather than brand-name prestige. Attitudes toward Aerie are a bit more up for grabs, with nearly two-thirds of women viewing the brand neutrally, and they largely fall in line with Aerie shoppers’ attitudes toward price.
So despite its recent struggles and attempts to recover its chunk of the market share, Victoria’s Secret’s decades-long brand reputation has clearly created a loyal segment of women. The challenge, however, will be preventing other rivals from peeling off support as the company goes public, which will likely change some aspects of the brand that favorables relied on.