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Men's branded underwear: an investigation of factors important to product choice

Rosanna Hale (Hanesbrands Inc., Winston‐Salem, North Carolina, USA)
Nancy Hodges (Department of Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 29 March 2013




The purpose of this paper is to explore factors important to the product choice stage of the decision‐making process for the men's branded underwear consumer.


A qualitative approach to data collection and interpretation was used. Individual in‐depth interviews were conducted with fifteen participants who had purchased men's branded underwear within six months prior to the study. Eight males and seven females, aged 23‐55, were given a voucher to purchase men's underwear at a designated US department store and asked to bring their purchases to the interview. A semi‐structured interview schedule was followed which posed open‐ended questions about purchasing men's branded underwear in general and specifically with regard to the use of the voucher. Interviews were audio recorded with participant's consent and lasted approximately 45‐60 min.


A thematic interpretation of the interview data led to the development of three emergent thematic areas used to explore issues that surfaced within and across responses. Factors important to participants' decision‐making are discussed relative to their product choices. A typology of consumer profiles was developed from the data based on involvement level, brand loyalty, gender, evaluative criteria and silhouette preference.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of the study include a focus on perceptions of US consumers located in a large urban area and a focus on the department store channel. Implications of participants' experiences for marketing men's branded underwear are considered.

Practical implications

This study provides insight into factors important to US consumers when purchasing men's branded underwear.


This paper offers an examination of consumer decision‐making relative to men's branded underwear, an understudied product category. Findings provide an in‐depth understanding of the consumer's perspective, an understanding that is essential to successful product development and brand positioning.



Hale, R. and Hodges, N. (2013), "Men's branded underwear: an investigation of factors important to product choice", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 180-196.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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