An uptick in men’s underwear sales bodes well for the economy at large—given the suggestion that men have enough disposable income to buy an item they don’t often update. Though 2012 men’s apparel sales rose a meager 1% to $57 billion, underwear sales shot up 13%, according to NPD group. Even former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan has used this economic indicator to take the temperature of the economy.
“Around the recession in 2008, things were more basic oriented, not fashion oriented,” said Michael Kleinmann, editor-in-chief of The Underwear Expert. “Underwear was more multi-pack-oriented, more about value items.”