Why the plus size apparel market is now big business

Plus size clothing has come a long way in the apparel industry and fashion market. In the past, choices regarding clothing designed for plus-size individuals were limited, often lacking respect for the ever-changing fashion trends within society. Availability of different styles was very poor and unconvincing. The demand for better selection has increased with the unfortunate increase in overweight or obesity around the world.

People are getting bigger

Interest in the plus size apparel market has increased due to the increasing levels of obesity and eating disorders that plague a large number of individuals. The average person’s shape and size has increased over the years, necessitating a change in the way clothing is designed, produced, and marketed—especially by women, who are generally much larger and heavier than they were about 20 years ago. People who are now in their 40s and 50s add to the increase in obesity – more than 60% of this group needs plus-size clothing.

Provide market need

Retailers and designers have noticed the huge need for plus size clothing and have made strides in the market. A range of plus size clothing can now be found in department stores, boutiques and department stores that previously did not offer a fitted range, if any at all. There has also been a boom in plus-size clothing lines that focus solely on customers who require larger sizes. Stores dedicated to serving the plus-size clothing shopper have also increased over the years. The mall now offers options other than Lane Bryant for the shopper who needs plus-size clothing.

Find the store

The change came after an exploration of different shopper sizes. The average man’s size and especially the woman’s size has changed over the years. In the 1960s, the average woman’s measurements were 34B bust, 24 inch waist with 33 inch hips. In today’s society the need for plus-size clothing becomes evident when the average woman now measures 36″ bust, 28″ waist with 38″ hips. Forty years ago the average woman’s size was a size 8, but now the average is seen somewhere around a size 14. It was clear that more plus-size clothing had to be made available to reflect changes within the average size shopper.

profitable sector

The plus-size apparel industry has not only provided the masses with the fashion choices they desire, but it has also benefited from a cash cow, totaling over $5 billion in apparel sales. More than 30% of the female population buys an item of clothing in plus sizes. Retailers have figured out how to also market to a target group of shoppers who are most likely to buy these garments. Middle-aged women are less likely to spend more money on plus-size clothing than their younger counterparts. With the recent advances in fashion today, plus size clothing can be just as “in” as a pair of skinny jeans, which now come in plus size as well.

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