Trendstop has delved into the plus size retail scene, analysing the current climate and looking ahead to the future developments that brands are initiating. Read on to discover more.

The plus size market was worth in 2017 approximately £6.6 billion according to PwC, with £4.7 billion from womenswear alone, demonstrating that it is a lucrative and important focus for fashion brands.

Plus size consumers shop online for everything. Analysts say that online shopping is even more popular among plus size consumers than the ‘average’ size womenswear consumers. From the logistics standpoint, retailers are not able to extend the rail sizes from 5 to 10 garments overnight. Some opt to offer extended size ranges online only while others keep them stocked ‘in the back’, brought out when asked for.

In terms of displays, unless the brand’s USP are extended size ranges, the window mannequins will be average size. Smaller size clothing is still generally perceived to have higher hanger appeal and is given primary positions

There is a huge potential for brands to engage with plus size shoppers online, including offering to take them outside the digital world and making them feel included and immersed into the full brand experience and brand community.

With the most popular mainstream brands stocking plus size options and the rise of social media use in the sector, the plus size market is now able to target a more youthful audience and expand its reach. Instagram shopping is an even easier to buy online without having to visit a physical store. Ranges such as ASOS Curve, PLT Plus, In The Style Curve and Boohoo Plus that fall under that category offer fashion focused collections, stemmed from their mainline ranges, ensuring that shoppers of any size can wear the latest fast-fashion trends without compromising on fit or comfort. We’ve also seen a real surge in plus-size influencers and models used by these brands to promote and wear the ranges which has given a proven popularity boost to the digital sector and is likely to continue.


Image Courtesy of Boohoo Curve

Social media commerce is currently targeted towards younger generations as they are generally more comfortable shopping online and often less likely to visit a physical store. Instagram which is the most popular platform for fashion commerce, shares that in July 2019, 40.8% of its users were 18-44-year-old women, while only 7.2% of women over the age of 45 use Instagram regularly. On Facebook the age groups are more evenly represented.

The body positivity movement is still gaining momentum and the younger generations are the ones driving it. We have recently seen lingerie brand Bluebella create the #loveyourself campaign that celebrates diversity that includes Ali Tate Cutler who is the first size 16 model to be featured in Victoria’s Secret. This inclusion of demonstrates that anyone no matter who they are and what size they are can feel beautiful in their own skin and shows that brands are redefining what plus size means, opening the market for other brands to tap into the market.


Image Courtesy of Bluebella

Smart brands and retailers will ultimately follow where the consumer and profitability leads them. Equipped with the knowledge that online is their target audience’s preferred shopping method, brands need to link up the digital and real experiences and build the narrative around the ‘brand experience activation’.

Brands and retailers need to show continued commitment to not only better and wider product ranges in store but cater to specific body shape needs, and of course the latest fashion trends to target that plus size consumer, which is a huge gap in the market.

Marketing and head office initiatives need to be clearly communicated through sales staff training so that the plus size customer has an elevated in store experience. The retail experience would need to be further elevated for offline to become the preferred shopping mode.

Certain retailers have made efforts to show the same garment on average and plus size models online, but this would need to expand across the board for brands who want to show their commitment to plus size clients.