32 Billion Plus-Size Clothing Movement Flourishes
Mintel Report Cites Close to 50 Percent Market Segment Growth; Celebrities and Plus-Size Targeted Stores Influence Revenue Increase
Chicago (March 23, 2006)- American women have gotten larger, and plus-size clothing manufacturers have stepped up marketing efforts in the last five years. According to a recent Mintel report, the plus-size clothing market reached close to $32 billion last year. In five years, the segment has posted close to 50 percent revenue growth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cited that over 62 percent of women were likely to be overweight or obese between 1999 and 2002, and this trend is being reflected in the sharp sales increase in this clothing category.
Mintel's exclusive consumer research reveals that more than half of female respondents over 18 years old purchase plus-size clothing. With clothing chains like Torrid (sister company of Hot Topic) and Charming Shoppes (owners of Lane Bryant, Catherine's, and Fashion Bug) continuing to expand their plus-size focused empires, department stores have also decided to raise the bar on their clothing offerings for this category. Kohl's has extended two of its private label lines, apt. 9 and Daisy Fuentes, to include extended sizes.
"The increased availability of fashion options has really impacted the plus-size category," said Kat Fay, analyst for Mintel. "For years, plus-size women had to shop from limited selections. They were also forced to shop from catalogs or online because many plus-sizes were not stocked in the stores. Easier access to purchasing clothing, coupled with more flattering styles and wider distribution, specifically through mass-merchandisers, plays a strong part in driving increased sales."
Celebrities have also helped to champion the growth of the plus-sized clothing movement. Rapper/actress Queen Latifah, supermodel Emme, and television personality Oprah have all presented more positive images of full-figured fashion in the media. Comedian Mo'Nique even launched the first-ever nationally televised plus-size beauty pageant last year.
"The population has gotten larger and manufacturers are now realizing the value of catering to this previously overlooked segment of women," Fay said. "More stores are launching plus-size lines, and there is still additional room for growth and development within the market. Clearly these women have the money and the desire to look as fashionable as regular-size women."
Mintel estimates that the plus-size market will grow more than 10 percent in the next five years. In addition, more stores will look at offering more extended size options for consumers. There continues to be a great growth opportunity in the plus-size catalog and Internet sectors, and companies have a chance to increase their revenue in these areas.
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