Spend on plus size garments set to get bigger

One in every £5 spent on womenswear in 2017 will be spent on plus size garments, new research suggests.

Consulting firm GlobalData’s latest report into market trends concludes that rising obesity levels have powered market growth, with more retailers recognizing that size 18+ females were underserved.

The report has implications for lingerie retailers, who must stay on the ball when it comes to ensuring they can cater for changes in demographics.

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Due to retailer investment in new ranges, wider choice and improved accessibility online, plus size expenditure has been boosted by £800m since 2012.

The NHS’s Health Survey for England found that 27% of females were either obese or morbidly obese in 2015, with obesity among 16-24-year-olds increasing sharply from 13% in 2014 to 16% in 2015.

These trends have prompted non-specialists such as boohoo.com, River Island and Quiz to launch plus size ranges, encouraged by the opportunity to sell online garments in bigger sizes which do not garner sufficient sales to justify space instore.

Kate Ormrod, lead retail analyst at GlobalData, explains: “With improved availability and choice, plus size shoppers are better catered for than ever before. The overall investment in ranges has brought them up to par with core womenswear propositions in terms of regular newness and fashionability, and is helping to drive up purchase frequency and therefore spend.

“Furthermore, with different body types now more socially accepted and, indeed, celebrated, youth fashion players must ensure that they are showcasing ranges on plus size models across their editorial content and social media activity, and harnessing the power of plus size bloggers to raise their profile. By doing this, retailers will drive customer engagement and remain top of mind amid growing competition.”

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