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Industry Report: Outsize clothing an expanding global market

© Zhou Luying : - Washington:- 10 Dec 2008 01:51:12 GMT
Clothing that is specially made for petite, plus-sized and tall customers is one of the most dynamic segments of today's apparel market, according to a new report from just-style. As such, it offers significant profit potential to manufacturers and marketers who can tailor their products to fit this outsize niche.
The outsize apparel market, which focuses on clothing for petite, plus-sized and tall customers, is rapidly growing in scale and sophistication.
The United States Department of Commerce calculates outsize apparel sales grew from less than 5% of total market share in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008.
And according to just-style's 'Global market review of outsize clothing - forecasts to 2014 (2009 edition),' by 2014 the market for plus-sizes in the US is expected to reach US$73.3bn and will represent 28.8% of all US apparel sales.
This growth is being fuelled by several factors, the report says.
People are increasingly mobile on a global scale, creating a more diverse demographic to which retailers must customise their offers.
And changes in dietary and work habits significantly affect the proportions of petite, plus-size, and tall individuals in a country's population.
Globalisation also means companies are having to market their products to an increasingly global - and differently-shaped - audience in order to gain market share.

Collaborative growth
Growth in the outsize sector is also being driven by retailers and manufacturers working together to increase perceived value and customer satisfaction.
By combining body scan data, sophisticated customer and sales feedback techniques, and leading-edge manufacturing systems, they are able to create clothes that fit and enhance customers like never before.
Furthermore, these techniques have even brought back the era of personalised clothing in the guise of mass customisation.

Three main markets
The three main markets for outsize apparel are quite diverse, and all come under closer scrutiny in the report for their profit potential as well as the insight they offer as early indicators of market changes.
The shrinking percentage of women in the petite demographic cancelled out growing demand in units of petite apparel in markets worldwide from 2006 to 2008, a trend that is expected to continue. But revenues are likely to rise in the future alongside rising unit prices, higher quality and fit.
In contrast, the plus-sized apparel market is growing at a healthy clip, influenced by the growing indices of daily calorie intake and lower calorie consumption in most of the world. Further gains throughout the world are expected to 2014.
Tall customers represent a small but fast-growing segment of the total apparel market, increasing from around 5% in 2005 to approximately 7% worldwide in 2008 - a 40% increase in three years.
The tall market is the most under-represented of the outsized segments, and there are opportunities to profit from this global market gap.
The report describes these markets and their projected growth in detail, as well as trends in the clothing industry by region and company.

Market projections
Plus-size customers currently tend to buy fewer clothes, making them a currently underdeveloped apparel market.
The US plus-sized market, for example, is expected to reach US$73.3bn by 2014, and will represent 28.8% of all US apparel sales.
In western Europe, the outsize market is fuelling apparel market growth.
More than 40% of Western European women are obese, with an upward trend observed in Eastern Europe as well. Hence, the potential of the plus-size market to 2014 is considered to be very high.

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