The U.S. Market for Plus-Size Apparel

Sep 1, 2001
254 Pages - Pub ID: LA376082
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This pioneering report from Packaged Facts is one of the first to cover the U.S. market for women's plus-size apparel, estimated at $31.6 billion in 2000. Larger women are growing more self-confident and financially secure, and they are demanding fashion equality with their smaller-size sisters from the runway to retail. This fast-paced market has strong growth potential within an otherwise slow-moving women's apparel arena. The report quantifies market size and growth and factors influencing market growth, offering sales projections through 2005. The analysis features extensive competitive profiles of major and niche marketers and retailers, including specialty and e-tail players, plus analysis of current marketing and new product trends and innovative retail strategies. The report also features an in-depth profile of the plus-size consumer.

Additional Information

Scope And Methodology

Market Parameters

Packaged Facts defines the plus-size apparel market as including women's clothing and accessories in misses size 14 or higher; clothing items designated as "women's," including those bearing the "W" designation following the size number (including petites); items labeled "Queen" or "Queen-Size"; and women's clothing sized Extra Large (or XL) and larger (1X, 2X, etc.), when Small-Medium-Large is used as the apparel sizing system. Apparel for larger-size ("big and tall") men is outside the scope of this report.

Report Methodology

The information in this report is based on primary and secondary research. Primary research entailed on-site examination of the retail environment, and consultations with marketer and trade representatives. Secondary research involved a review of data and other information appearing in financial, marketing, trade, and consumer publications, and in company literature. Statistics on market size and growth, marketer share, and share by retail sector are based on an evaluation of data and trend reports from trade sources. Consumer advertising expenditure estimates are based on data (copyright 2000) from CMR, a Taylor Nelson Sofres company. The analysis of consumer demographics primarily derives from the Simmons Market Research Bureau (New York, NY) Fall 2000 consumer survey, based on 31,576 respondents.

Press Release

Majority of American women are a size 14, yet manufacturers continue to cater to the size 6 prototype

New York, September 7/PRNewswire – Despite the fact that they constitute a majority, larger women traditionally have meekly accepted the frumpy fashions foisted upon them by marketers of plus-size fashion, according to a new report from Packaged Facts available through, The U.S. Market for Plus Size Apparel. However, in the last ten years, college educations and high-paying jobs have helped boost self-esteem in this population, creating a confident and demanding consumer who knows what she wants. Today, as high profile plus-size celebrities and glossy magazines filled with size 14 models are gaining popularity, the tremendous market potential of plus-size clothing is finally getting attention.

Total retail sales for plus-size items in the year 2000 reached almost $32 billion, or 30% of the women’s clothing market, and major fashion houses have jumped to find attractive, fashion conscious options for the larger woman. The industry has a financially secure audience that has proven to be very brand loyal, as well as sales records that soar compared to other market segments. Exemplifying the current extraordinary market conditions for large-size clothing is the recent purchase by Charming Shoppes Inc. of plus-size powerhouse Lane Bryant from Limited Inc. last month for $335 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. Market for Plus Size Apparel, provides detailed information about consumer demographics, as well as distribution and marketing trends, product development, and emerging retail campaigns. The report also includes historical sales data, as well as market projections through the year 2005.

According to Meg Hargreaves, VP of Research Publishing for, the plus-size clothing industry is experiencing a long overdue period of extraordinary growth. “The women’s plus-size apparel market comprises a considerable share of the overall U.S. women’s apparel market,” Ms. Hargreaves stated. “Nearly 30% of all women’s apparel sales in 2000 were of plus-size items, and supply is still not on track to keep up with demand in coming years.”

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