With obesity and overweight rates throughout the UK continuing to increase year after year, the demand for plus-size fashion ranges is set to surge. Nearly a quarter of UK consumers purchased plus-size clothing over the past year and UK shoppers are set to spend 5.4 billion pounds on plus-size clothing this year according to Conlumino, a clear indication that the market - once considered a niche area of the industry - will become the new norm in fashion.
Increased appetite for Plus-Size Fashion fuelled by Social Media
The retail research agency firm attributes part of the boom in plus-size fashion to social media and marketing events, such as the UK Plus Size Fashion Week. "The appeal from social media, coupled with growing obesity rates, has helped to accelerate demand on the high street for more fashionable on trend products in bigger sizes, bridging the barrier between brands and plus size consumers," comments Rebecca Marks, retail analyst at Conlumino.
The women's plus-size market is the fastest growing, with spend hitting 3.1 billion pounds in 2014. Former highstreet favourite Marks & Spencer currently leads the women's plus-size market, with 10.6 percent of all spend in the category being made through the retailer in 2014. Plus-size specialist Evans comes in second place, with a market share of 6.5 percent, followed by non-specialist retailers Debenhams with 5.9 percent, Asda with 5.4 percent and Primark with 4.8 percent.
Plus-Size Fashion Spend to reach 6.4 billion pounds by 2019
Other fashion retailers have been responding to flourishing demand for size 18 plus for women's wear and XL plus for men's wear, such as online retailer Boohho.com which launch Boohoo Plus in spring 2014 in collaboration with plus-size fashion blogger Nadia Aboulhoson and Evans, which tapped designers such as Giles Deacon and Clements Riberio to rework items from their collections for Evans' Desing Collective range. "Non-specialist retailers are more likely to expand their plus size ranges online, enabling greater focus and selling space for their higher revenue core size ranges in store," adds Marks.
With overall spend on plus-size clothing predict to increase 4.5 percent from 5.1 billion in 2014, Conlumino predicts the market will maintain a 12.4 percent share of the UK clothing market. In addition, with more retailers expanding current ranges and looking into product innovation, the plus-size market is set to grow by 23.8 percent between 2014-2019 to 6.4 billion pounds.Image Credit: UK Plus Size Fashion week 2015 in association with Evans, boohooPLUS and Make Believe Beauty