U.S. Women's Plus Size Apparel Market - Statistics & Facts

Plus-size clothing is often described as clothing for larger than average people. For women, plus sizes usually start from between size 10 or 14. The average U.S. women’s dress size is between 14 and 16, meaning that plus-size is the new average, although it is not typically thought of that way. In the past, Lane Bryant was the only show in town for shoppers of plus-size women’s clothing, but now, many major clothing retailers such as H&M, ASOS, and Mango cater to plus-size customers. Department stores like JCPenney boast an extensive line of plus-size jeans and dresses . The women’s plus-size apparel market generated about 20.4 billion dollars in sales in 2016, up from 17.4 billion dollars in sales three years previously.

The plus-size women’s apparel market does not show signs of diminishing in the near future. In 2015, the market was valued at 20 million U.S. dollars, and is projected to grow to 24 million dollars by 2020. In 2015, the plus-size apparel segment was one of the fastest growing online fashion markets, reporting over 19 percent sales growth. However, while the average U.S. consumer spends 934 dollars per year on non-plus-size clothing, buyers of plus-size clothing only spend about 637 dollars per year on clothing, on average.

Recent surveys have found that plus-size shoppers almost unanimously think more highly of a designer who was accommodating of plus-size clothing needs and believe in the importance of including plus-size models in runway shows. While in the past it was unheard of to see a larger-than-average model in a fashion magazine or on a billboard, attitudes are shifting and the definition of what is considered beautiful is becoming more inclusive of larger women.

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