U.S. women's plus-size apparel market - statistics & facts
Plus-size clothing is often described as clothing for larger than average people. Sizing in the U.S. varies between retails and even individual items of clothing, but many retailers start plus-size clothing at size 12 or 14. The average U.S. women’s dress size is between 16 and 18, 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 largely known retailer 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. The market for U.S. plus-size apparel was valued at 24 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, up from 20.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.
Plus-size apparel retail
The plus-size apparel retail sales has decreased in the last two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the plus-size women's clothing store sales in the U.S. was valued at approximately 6.67 billion U.S. dollars. This was a significant decrease from the 2019 value. The average rate of women with a BMI of 30 or higher in the U.S. was a little more than 30 percent in 2019, with some states nearing almost half of women. However, the sales share of women’s plus-size apparel in the U.S. apparel market was only 19 percent as of 2021. There is still room for growth in the plus-size apparel market, to reflect the reality of U.S. women’s sizes.
Size inclusivity in the fashion market
The top four retailers, where plus-sized customers shopped the most often are large retail brands like Walmart or national department stores like Kohl’s and JCPenny. These stores often have more inclusive sizing. As of 2021, the average selling price for jeans in the U.S. for plus sizes was three U.S. dollars more than skinny jeans in straight sizes. This was almost a 6 percent difference in cost. Many fashion brands are still using only mid-sized models to represent plus-size fashion which many consumers hope changes, so their body types can be represented positively in fashion and media.
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