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$21.5 Billion “Plus Size” Market Comes of Age

Clothing, Products & Services For Large People

John LaRosa, Research Director
John LaRosa, Research Director

"Old stigmas about plus size shopping are fading fast."

Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., a leading independent market research publisher of “off-the-shelf” studies about SERVICE industries since 1979, has released a new 93-page market study entitled: The U.S. Plus Size Market: Clothing, Products & Services .   The study estimates national receipts from 1995-2020 forecasts, and examines the nature, development, structure, market segments, top competitors and more.  
“This little-researched market had a breakout year in 2015, as size acceptance became more popular and retailers finally got serious about serving large persons’ needs for fashionable clothes. However, there is also a $1 billion market for products such as bariatric hospital beds, personal care and household items, dating services, modeling agencies, furniture and more.”, according to Research Director, John LaRosa:

Major Findings:

Revenues… Marketdata analysts estimate that in 2015, the plus-size market in the U.S. was worth $21.5 billion. Sales are expected to grow by 4.1% annually, reaching just under $26 billion by 2020. Fully 95% of sales now are related to clothing.

Based on CDC obesity data, the number of potential customers for “plus sized” products and services is at least 54 million Americans.  The number of obese women has nearly doubled during the past 15 years, fueling increased demand for plus size clothing, products and services.

The “average” American women now wears a size 14  (with “plus-sizes, often classified as 14 to 34, accounting for 67 percent of the population). Typically, plus size customers are female, between the ages of 30 – 45, and come from all income levels and occupations.
High capacity bariatric hospital beds, wheelchairs and lift systems constitute an $800 million market now, expected to reach $1 billion by 2020, as healthcare facilities try to accommodate larger and larger patients.
Model agency billings related to plus size models are estimated at $64 million, and Marketdata estimates that $110 million in business for dating services relates to large persons.
Plus size models have become more mainstream during the past five years, making the covers of magazines such as Sports Illustrated and others. Designers are creating more clothes for plus size women and there are annual events such as Full Figure Fashion Week and CurvyCon, held in New York City. All of this is driving higher demand and sales.
A good portion of the growth in plus size clothing has come from online sales, but brick & mortar retailers such as Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, Catherine’s, Modcloth, Forever 21, Torrid and Hot Topic and others have added or expanded their plus size departments and product lines.
According to recent research by ModCloth, 88% of plus-size women said they would buy more clothing if they had better options. So, there is still plenty of room for growth.
Old stigmas about plus-size shopping are melting away. Bolstered by a cadre of shapely models and public figures from Kim Kardashian to Nicki Minaj, advocacy from plus-size bloggers, and fitness trends such as CrossFit—whose adherents have larger body shapes that do not fit into ordinary sizing.
There are extra production costs passed on to the consumer for plus-size apparel, which often is less profitable than non-plus size clothing. For brick-and-mortar retailers, limited floor space has dictated whether they carry such lines. Plus sizes historically have been one of the first to go when another product starts driving sales.
“We don’t see American obesity rates declining any time soon. As long as that’s the case, there should be increased demand from both young and middle-aged large persons for fashionable clothes and a wide variety of services to meet their needs.”, according to John LaRosa.
About The Report

This groundbreaking report goes beyond the clothing market, examining the market’s development and $ size since 1995, currently, and forecast to 2020. Plus size demographics, market trends, market structure, and plus-size demographics (CDC data) included. Market segments covered: clothing, household accessories, modeling agencies, dating services, bariatric hospital beds, lift systems, wheelchairs, books & videos, plus size magazines, websites, resource directories and guides. Includes competitor profiles of 14 plus size clothing retailers, 3 modeling agencies, 3 medical equipment producers, and bios of 22 plus size models.

About Marketdata

Marketdata Enterprises is a 37-year old market research report publisher and consulting firm, based in Tampa, FL. The company publishes market and industry studies, specializing in HEALTHCARE and SERVICE sectors. It also performs custom research projects, consulting, webinars, teleconferences and seminars.Research is quoted by all major media.
Editor’s Note:   The U.S. Plus Size Market: Clothing, Products & Services, published in August 2016, is an independently researched “off-the-shelf” study.  The study is 93 pages in length. The study costs $995. A free table of contents is available by email ( ). Contact: Marketdata Enterprises, 7210 Wareham Drive, Tampa, FL  33647. Phone: 813-971-8080. Marketdata studies are also available via resellers such as:, Bharat Book Bureau, and Global Information, and the Profound database. John LaRosa is available for interviews. 

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