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Recession watch: Men's underwear sales drop

This is not exactly sports related, but we do know our readers, and gay men in general, are very picky about their choice of underwear. It seems as if the recession is cutting into the amount of briefs and boxers guys are buying these days, the Huffington Post reports.

A revised survey by the leading global research company, Mintel, shows relatively large drops in the sales of men's underwear in the United States. The study, to be released April 9, projects a 2.3 percent drop in sales of all men's underwear products in 2009. Underscoring just how quickly the market has gone south, in November 2008, Mintel had forecast sales to grow by 2.6 percent in 2009. A serious downturn led to a serious revision.

Officials in the business say a variety of factors are to blame, including an influx of private label products from China. But the truth is, the psychology of the recession plays the biggest role.

"Men's basic apparel products probably have the least fluctuating sales of all [apparel products]," Matt Hall, a spokesman for Hanesbrands Inc. said in a brief interview. "But recessions impact all categories and men's underwear sales are no different... Men's underwear is a replenishment item. If you see a dip in the market it is because of the economy. But over a longer-term period it will even out. They tend to be later going into the recession and earlier coming back... Men certainly aren't wearing underwear less frequently than before."

I am curious as to whether this holds for gay men as opposed to all men. Macy's had a 25% off sale last week on underwear, in addition to 15% off coupons in the paper, so I bought a couple of new pairs (2xist, if you are curious). I would not have paid full price and I know that Macy's has underwear sales a couple of times a year.

Is underwear something you have skimped on, or are you buying as much as you usually do? Also, boxers or briefs or boxer briefs? I'm a briefs guy.