Demand for Plus Size Fashion Continues to Soar
The latest research shows that demand for Plus size fashion from Simply Be and others is growing at a phenomenal rate. A sales trend that looks set to continue for at least 4 more years.
+ In 2017, the plus size market was worth circa £6.6bn
+ During that year, plus size fashion growth outstripped that of the overall market
+ This sector is set to continue to grow by 5 to 6% per annum until 2022
The story behind this trend
Without a doubt, the fact the men and women are getting bigger is the main driver for this growth. According to the latest research from the NHS, in England, 40% of men and 30% of women are overweight. The figures show that across the entire population 26.8% of women and 26% of men are obese. Therefore, it is not really surprising that sales of 16+ and XXL clothing are on the increase.
Empowerment of plus-size buyers
The fact that plus-size fashion has finally gone mainstream is also helping to fuel demand. A great example of this change is the inclusion of plus-size models on the catwalk at the New York Fashion Week last Fall.
This is encouraging curvier women to be more confident and to demand clothes that are made to flatter their body shape. In the past, most retailers simply scaled up their existing clothing range. The results were not pretty. Usually, 18+ sized garments ended up clinging in some places and being too baggy in others.
Today, things have definitely changed. There are several retailers out there who design their plus size ranges from scratch. The clothes are cut to fit the curvier figure. As a result, they look really great. This is encouraging women to go out and spend more money on clothing. Now, that they can buy clothes that actually fit they are more than happy to do so. The same is happening with the menswear plus-size market.
For this type of fashion, the price is a very important factor. The average plus-size buyer wants and expects value for money. This is mostly because there is a correlation between dress size and standards of living, especially for women. Those women who are closer to the poverty line tend to be bigger, on average. Generally speaking, the more affluent you are the more likely it is that you will be closer to your recommended weight.
It will be interesting to see how retailers meet this challenge. Many of the larger retailers have been slow to enter the market because they believe that developing, manufacturing and retailing plus-size lines is more costly. These extra costs are difficult, if not impossible, to pass onto the average plus-size customer.
Plus size customers like to buy online
However, the fact plus-size buyers are more willing to buy online than the average consumer could help. It is estimated by PwC that by 2022, 36% of plus size sales will take place via the internet, at least when it comes to womenswear. The fact that selling clothes online is cheaper for the retailer should help them to keep the overall price of each garment down to a level that is affordable for the average buyer.
There is no doubt that plus-size fashion is at an important point in its development. It will be interesting to see which fashion houses, manufacturers and retailers grasp this opportunity and prosper as a result.