And it’s still hard to find at retail.

Patricia DeLuca, Senior Managing Editor

June 3, 2022

2 Min Read

Last month, The NPD Group announced sales for women’s plus-size apparel grew by 18% in 2021, compared to sales in 2019. Sales in that category were three times faster than customer sales spending in the rest of the women’s market. 

According to the Inclusive Apparel Market Trends report, apparel basics like bras, underwear and shapewear comprised the most significant share of apparel units sold in plus-size apparel at 27%, compared to 19% for the rest of the market from NPD. Expanded sizing of apparel staples like jeans, tops and swimwear are the categories most requested by customers.  

“Plus-size is a booming yet underserved area of the apparel industry,” says Kristen Classi-Zummo, apparel industry analyst, The NPD Group. “The intimate apparel market has been a pioneer in inclusive sizing, proving that the consumer will spend on categories where she feels well-represented. Successful apparel brands understand and connect with their customers’ unique values and lifestyles.” 

Dia & Co., a plus-size e-tailer, recently acquired luxury retailer 11 Honore, which carries extended sizes from designers like Diane Von Furstenberg and Carolina Herrera and collaborations with celebrities such as Leah Dunham. This purchase now gives more choice to the Dia & Co. customer than the average retailer: The option to buy a plain white T-shirt and a formal gown – in their size – on one website.  

While extended sizing offers more options to the consumer, it doesn’t automatically result in an uptick in sales. Last year, Old Navy introduced its BODEQUALITY initiative, where it extended its women’s apparel to sizes 30 and 4X. However, the launch faced an obstacle: Customers discovered Old Navy was sold out of mid-size clothing, which ranges from sizes 10 to 16. The situation at Old Navy heightened the problem with inclusive sizing overall – not enough of the commonly-worn sizes available but an overstock of the lesser-worn sizes. It also contributed to a 19% decrease in sales at the retailer for its fiscal Q1. 

Still, Old Navy’s fumble shouldn’t deter licensees on a future apparel collaboration. If you need reassurance on extending your size options, then read the first two paragraphs again.  

About the Author(s)

Patricia DeLuca

Senior Managing Editor, License Global

Patricia DeLuca currently serves as License Global's Senior Managing Editor.

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