A Fast Growing Market that Brands Have Ignored

A Fast Growing Market that Brands Have Ignored

Nearly 1 billion consumers worldwide wear plus-sizes.  Why aren’t brands listening to their cry for better fashion options?


The fashion industry is scrambling to meet sales targets and yet most brands and retailers willingly overlook what could be a huge market opportunity for them:  Plus Sizes.


There is more than ample data to validate that people are getting larger, even in developing nations.  At the same time, larger consumers are more demanding and want clothing that is fashionable, fits well and is comfortable.


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Yet, few brands are willing to rework patterns or styles to cater to this growing market.  Nor are they interested in developing new brands specifically for this segment. 


A Huge (Untapped) Global Market

In the US alone, there are an estimated 100 million consumers who wear plus-sizes.  The market is estimated to be worth in excess of $21.4 billion.   Plus –size teens account for an estimated 36 percent of the market, according to a study by the NDP Group.


While sales of plus-size apparel account for only about 10 percent of sales, consumers who wear a size 14 or above make up 67 percent of the population. 


In the UK, the plus-size market is estimated to be worth $7.1 billion (£5.08 billion), with about 20 percent of all apparel sales being in a plus-size., according to research from GlobalData.


On the other side of the world, an estimated 60 percent of India’s 1.3 billion consumers are now considered plus-size.   The plus-size segment is estimated to account for $5-6 billion in the $40-billion Indian online fashion apparel market by 2020, that is, 10-12% of the overall market.


China’s state-run media outlet Global Times reported that 10.8 percent of Chinese men (43 million) and 14.9 percent of women (46 million) are overweight.   In addition, 23 percent of boys and 14 percent of girls under the age of 20 are now classified as overweight or obese.


The situation is similar in other major markets.  In Russia almost 30 percent of the population is obese. 


Why Brands Have Side Stepped This Market

For many, there’s a misconception about the plus-size market.  Many brands prefer to design in their own self-image (or the image that they aspire to).  The most highly publicized example was US-retail brand Abercrombie & Fitch, whose former CEO Mike Jeffries candidly admitted     READ MORE