Amid mixed reports about recession and economic recovery, here's a bright spot: Men’s underwear sales are on the rebound. Believe it or not, that's a reliable indicator, because selling unmentionables is “such a need-based business that it really is a good indication that the consumer hasn't checked out,” an industry analyst tells the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sales were up 4.6% in the first 6 months of 2009 over a year earlier, even as sales of women's skivvies dipped 3.3%.
Unlike women's undies, men's scanties are comparable to kitchen staples—they typically don't get replaced until they're completely worn out. So when sales are off, that means guys are truly cutting back. And when they're feeling flush? "After a week, if he hasn't done laundry, he's out buying new underwear," says the analyst. "Women will have ample stockpile of product."