The plus size market: Strategies for success

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The plus size market is expanding. WGSN Instock data shows a 24.4% YOY increase in new-ins, but as the plus size market grows, with it comes the strength of competition. Across all markets, the need for players to adopt a trend led approach is essential in order for traditional plus-size retailers to sustain their territory and mainstream retailers to demonstrate inclusivity.


Prioritise acceptance over improvement

As consumers continue to dictate the industry from the streets and social feeds, the shift in fashion retail echoes the societal attitude change towards body-acceptance rather than body-improvement. Mainstream retailers need to continue to champion diversity and inclusivity through both product assortments and marketing, to win the consideration and loyalty of those consumers who may have previously felt alienated and excluded.

You only have to look as far as prime time television advertising slots during Love Island to see Missguided, infiltrating inclusivity into their strategies. Alongside their product placement partnership, the brand maintained a 30 second advert during every episode championing diversity from plus-size to stretch marks. Barometer data shows that Missguided demonstrated the highest uplift of net buzz amongst peers during the time period of the series.


Leverage user generated content

For a consumer segment whom has long felt ignored, and at some points offended, in the world of fashion retail, particularly through marketing & advertising, the amplification of user-generated content is crucial. Contextualising product in the lives of relatable body shapes and sizes allows brands to resonate further with those they may have lost before. In the space of the traditional retailers their required strategy is clear, with Yours Clothing leading the way by appointing the digital chief of Missguided as a non-exec director.

To capitalise on the growing plus-size market, retailers need to adopt the use of social media and user generated content to leverage the power of influence and take advantage of the social impulse buyer in order to retain their territory.


Authenticate and align your offering  

As society continues to look to shed labels and segregation, mainstream retailers need to ensure they are using their voice to catalyse this change and remain authentic. We’ve seen mainstream retailers such as Zalando and Boohoo growing their plus-size offerings by +82.7 % YOY and +58.8% YOY respectively. Through aligning product ranges and extending size ranging in main line assortments, retailers can win in this booming market whilst improving corporate social responsibility.

In order to reach out to consumers, products should be visually merchandised on an array of body shapes and assortment should be balanced. Enabling consumers to better envisage fit and fall, both online and offline, will effectively drive demand and minimise returns.

Above all, authenticity is vital. Whilst mainstream retailers are expanding their plus-size offering consumers are more clued-up than ever when it comes to morality of brands. Demonstrating that body-positivity must remain an industry shift rather than a short-term marketing trend in order to capitalise on the growing market.


Find out more about WGSN Analytics Division, helping fashion businesses optimise trading in a digital-first competitive landscape by combining data analytics and specialist fashion insight.

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