We went shopping at Victoria's Secret and Aerie, and 4 key differences revealed why one is winning while the other is flailing
Mar 19, 2019, 21:47 IST
Business Insider/Mary Hanbury
Aerie is known for not retouching the photos it uses in ads.
The women's underwear market is going through a period of rapid change in the United States. Longtime industry leader Victoria's Secret is increasingly finding itself under pressure as new brands enter the market and chip away at its market share.
Its parent company, L Brands, reported fourth-quarter earnings last month and announced that dozens of Victoria's Secret stores would close this year.
We visited Victoria's Secret and Aerie to see how the shopping experience compared.
Victoria's Secret is the longtime leader of the underwear market in the United States, but it is increasingly coming under pressure as new brands enter the market and chip away at its market share.
This includes American Eagle's Aerie, which, since 2014, has doubled down on body-positive marketing in an effort to appeal to a new generation of shoppers.
We visited Victoria's Secret and Aerie to see how the shopping experience compared at these stores. Here's what we found:
The Victoria's Secret store we visited is located in Downtown Manhattan, New York, in the World Trade Center Westfield mall. The mall, which opened in 2016, is classified as a Class A mall, which is determined by its tenants' sales per square foot.
First impression: Victoria's Secret
The Aerie store that we visited is located in one of New York's busiest shopping neighborhoods, Soho. It is a standalone location that opened in 2018.
First impression: Aerie
Store design and layout: Victoria's Secret
Analysts have criticized this design scheme.
Store design and layout: Aerie
In-store ads: Aerie
Empowerment messages were scattered all around the store.
#AerieReal, a campaign the brand launched in 2014 to stop retouching its images, had a prominent place in the store.
In-store ads: Victoria's Secret
They were in almost every nook and cranny, in fact.
Product: Victoria's Secret
This is well-evidenced in the two brand's displays of push-up bras.
The displays were very different. Neon colors and racy silhouettes are the norm at Victoria's Secret.
At Aerie, neither the product nor the marketing was remotely racy.
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