One in every £5 spent on womenswear in 2017 will be spent on plus-size garments, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.
The company’s latest report reveals that rising obesity levels have powered market growth, with more retailers recognizing that size 18+ females were underserved. Due to retailer investment in new ranges, wider choice, and improved accessibility online, plus-size expenditure has been boosted by £800 million since 2012.
The NHS’s Health Survey for England found that 26.8% of females were either obese or morbidly obese in 2015, with obesity among 16 to 24-year-olds increasing sharply from 12.9% in 2014 to 15.9% in 2015. These trends have prompted nonspecialists such as boohoo.com, River Island, and Quiz to launch plus-size ranges, encouraged by the opportunity to sell online garments in bigger sizes that do not garner sufficient sales to justify space in-store.
Even Victoria Beckham’s clothing collaboration with U.S. retailer Target offered plus sizes, shining a high-profile light on the niche clothing segment.
“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,” says Kate Ormrod, lead retail analyst at GlobalData. “By doing this, retailers will drive customer engagement and remain top of mind amid growing competition.”