A Closer Look at the Global Plus Size Clothing Market Share | 2022

A Closer Look at the Global Plus Size Clothing Market Share | 2022

Posted on Oct 28, 2022


A demographic that was once in the dark has now stepped out into the spotlight. Their stretch marks, rolls of flesh, and curves are being celebrated. The fashion runways have opened up to them, yet the conditioning against them continues to run deep. There's a cultural shift so fast that retail is scrambling to play catch-up.


The plus-size shopper is making a statement. She doesn't want to be left out or seen as different. Instead, she wants the same thing that a straight-size consumer does, only of her size.


This blog post looks at the plus-size market share, its growth factors and challenges, the key players, and how they're performing in terms of growth metrics like traffic, engagement, and sales.

Plus Size Market Snapshot

The global plus-size women's market was worth an estimated USD 152.8B in 2020 and is expected to garner over USD 264.4B in 2027. Very few statistics exist about the men's plus-size market. As of 2017, the global men's plus-size market was an estimated $1B.


The women's plus-size market in the US is estimated to be worth $6.8B in 2022, declining at a CAGR of 6.9% during the forecast period of 2017 and 2022.


The US leads the market in terms of GMV but APAC – specifically China – dominates when it comes to growth. Unlike the US, the rates of obesity in China are lower. However, given the sheer size of the population, the overall number of plus-size women is significant. According to the CIA world factbook, there were 36.6 million obese women in china in 2016, about 6.5% of the total adult female population, 563 million. Keeping this rate constant, we'd expect about 44 million plus-size women between then and now.


Plus Size Market trends and outlook

Prevalent rates of obesity in developing nations like the US are making plus-size a lucrative market. CDC estimates show that as of 2018, 40% of US adults were obese. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of US teens purchasing 'junior size' dropped from 81% to 73%, while those who were buying 'plus-size' shot up from 19% to 34%!


As of 2019, this figure was at 42%. So, there's a progressive need for clothes fitting bigger body types.


Additionally, increasing body confidence among plus-size women has increased the demand for plus-size apparel to suit the latest fashion trends. Various activist movements advocating for the recognition and mainstreaming of non-straight-A-size body types in retail settings have gained the spotlight. As a result, fashion runways have opened up to plus-size models. Plus-size influencers are taking the stage on Instagram, dedicated plus-size retailers like Eloquii (bought by Walmart) have emerged, and brick-and-mortar retailers like Forever 21, Torrid, and Hot Topic have expanded or added their plus-size departments/product lines.


Target also install mannequins of larger body shapes and sizes to shatter taboos and stereotypes at their storefronts. The cultural shift is apparent, yet there are challenges.


Challenges of plus size industry

Fashion's struggles with size inclusivity are nothing new. However, there is a lack of size standardization across the industry to begin. US Fashion is almost a $290B market, yet only 8% of brands offer plus-size options. The hesitation in offering extended-size clothing can be attributed to the high costs of making them. Bigger the size, the more the material, and the higher the price. This translates into higher manufacturing, inventory, shipping and storage costs. Ultimately, the costs are passed down to the consumers.


The common grouse of plus-size women is the lack of variety in options. Only 8% of fashion brands today offer plus-size options. Plus-size women want collections based on the latest trends and styles that standard-size customers buy, only of a different size. It's worse for men since there are not many figureheads like Ashley Graham or Tess Holliday among women leading the charge. So this market pales when it comes to options.


Where are they buying?

D2C websites, Supermarkets & Hypermarkets and Specialty stores are the three significant transaction points. Hypermarkets captured the largest market share, followed by Specialty stores and Online channels (DTC). However, plus-size brands themselves seem to be favoring the DTC model, owing to reluctance from retailers to carry a comprehensive selection for fear of stock not selling out, which in itself arises from plus-size women refusing to shop at these locations due to their historically oblivious attitude towards them – a vicious cycle, one can say.


The choices in design, trends and sizes for the plus-size demographic have been historically low, and in the last ten years, DTC brands like Eloquii (owned by Walmart), Ella & Oak and Universal Standard have stepped in to fill that void. Retailers like Forever 21, Anthropologie and American Eagle have followed suit, introducing extended sizes in their apparel lines, and having department stores like Nordstrom, Macy's and JC Penney. In addition, target launched its plus-size line called Ava & Viv in 2015.


Key Players of Plus size market

Per PipeCandy's estimates, about 44,000 eCommerce companies in the US sell apparel. However, we saw earlier that only 8% of fashion brands offer plus-size options, about 3,500 – 4,000 brands.


We picked out the key players being spoken about online and classified them into Retail, D2C and Department Stores. Then, we analyzed their performance metrics such as Visits, Visit duration, Mobile visits rate, and Instagram engagement rates.


Original article: A Closer Look at the Global Plus Size Clothing Market Share | 2022

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