Over the last five years more non-specialists clothing chains such as ASOS, Quiz, Seasalt and River Island have launched plus size ranges, encouraged by the opportunity to sell garments in bigger sizes online which do not garner sufficient sales to justify space instore. Most recently even Victoria Beckham has created a plus size range in collaboration with US retailer Target, shining a high profile light on the niche clothing segment. With improved availability and choice, plus size shoppers are better catered for than ever before.
The niche clothing market is largely dominated by midmarket retailers such as Next, Debenhams and M&S - though the grocers also have a strong proposition, especially in terms of plus size and maternity. There is strong opportunity for value and premium players to seize more spend in these niche categories, especially in terms of petite and plus size. Premium players must extend size ratios, and consider providing petite sizes, especially on key lines or online only as a first step. While there is also potential for value players to do more in petite, especially those targeting the under 18 age group, they need to ensure they do not compromise on fit as margin pressures grow, as it is the key driver of purchases after price.
Plus size womenswear market is forecast to reach GBP£4.7bn in 2017, equating to 19.4% of the total womenswear market, up from 18.4% in 2012. Rising obesity levels have powered market growth with more retailers recognising that size 18+ females were underserved, therefore investing in new ranges, wider choice and improved accessibility via online - boosting plus size expenditure by GBP£766m since 2012. UK plus size menswear market has significantly underperformed (increasing 12.7% in the five years) compared to its counterpart women’s plus size market; which grew by 19.4% in the same period.
Online is the most important channel for plus size shoppers, with 45.2% of female shoppers buying plus size clothing on a retailer’s website and 36.3% of male plus size shoppers doing the same. Investment in plus size by online pureplays, especially those focused on trend-led ranges such as ASOS, which has recently launched a plus size menswear collection, and boohoo.com, has ensured the online channel is top of mind when shopping for the niche category.
Supermarkets are the second most preferred destination for purchasing plus size clothing by shoppers; and all three are within the top 15 players for both plus size womenswear and menswear, although, given Asda and Tesco’s more developed offers they rank within the top 10.
Clothing sector forecasts indicate that 2017 and 2018 will be tough for retailers as disposable incomes are restricted and volumes weaken. Therefore to encourage spend, plus size clothing must be keenly priced and well designed to ensure a good fit. 59.1% of male plus size shoppers and 67.1% of female plus size shoppers agreed that plus size clothing was more expensive than regular sized clothing, indicating that any price rises in 2017, caused by higher inflation, must be inline with core collections and while entry and exit level price points must be comparative.
The report “What Britain Wears: Niche Clothing 2017”, offers comprehensive insight and analysis of the UK market (including forecasts up to 2022), the major players, the main trends, and consumer attitudes.
It provides in-depth analysis of the following -
- Helps in identifying the factors that are driving the niche clothing sector.
- Exploring what people buy and spend in the niche clothing sector.
- Provides analysis of retailers consumers use in the niche clothing sector.
- Helps to understand how consumers shop in the niche clothing sector.
Companies mentioned in this report: ASOS, boohoo, boohoo.com, asos curve, boohoo plus, Jacamo, Simply be, Evans, High & Mighty, M&S, Marks & Spencer, Next, Debenhams, Primark, Asda, Shop Direct, Tesco, New Look, Matalan, Sainsbury’s, Bonmarche, TK Maxx, Yours, JD Williams, Amazon, River Island, H&M.
- Rising obesity levels have powered plus size womenswear market growth with more retailers recognising that size 18+ females were underserved, therefore investing in new ranges, wider choice and improved accessibility via online - boosting plus size expenditure by almost £800m since 2012.
- Despite a diminishing market share year-on-year and losing relevance in terms of fashionability in an increasingly competitive market, Mothercare is forecast to remain the maternitywear market leader in 2017 ahead of second place Asda.
- After price, fit is the most important factor for petite shoppers, with 31% of consumers stating it was a driver for petite clothing purchases; however over 60% of petite shoppers said they had difficulty finding clothing on the high street to fit them well.
- Online is the most important channel for plus size shoppers, with 45% of female shoppers buying plus size clothing on a retailer’s website and 36% of male plus size shoppers doing the same. Retailers must continue to invest in site navigation, personalisation and fulfilment to provide shoppers with the convenience they demand.
Reasons to Buy
- Using our five year forecasts to 2022, understand which niche subcategories are the fastest performing to ensure more focus and investment in these winning product areas.
- Understand niche clothing shoppers’ purchasing habits and preferences and how to drive spend.
- Understand major niche clothing retailers’ strengths and weaknesses and their market share forecasts for 2017.