The NPD Group, Inc. recently released results of the “Women Special Sizes Report.”  The study shows two-thirds of females, within a nationally representative sample of females age 13+, self-classify themselves as wearing clothing that is considered “special sized.” One-third of these females self-classify themselves as plus size women, the highest represented size group among special size women.

“Despite the fact there has been an increase in plus size offerings through some traditionally ‘regular sized’ brands, the demand for designer brands and styles in larger sizes in still in full swing, “said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Women of all ages and shapes want to enjoy the latest fashions of the season and are willing to spend the money in order to feel comfortable and confident.”

  • 63% of plus size women report shopping for plus sized clothing is more stressful than shopping for regular clothing.
  • 62% of plus size women report having trouble finding women’s plus sized clothing styles they want.
  • 56% of plus size women report it is hard to find plus size clothing with the same level of quality as regular sized clothing.

“Plus size women think differently than regular sized women about clothing and their attitudes reflect that difference,” stated Cohen. “In order to be successful in this category, retailers and brands need to create a comfortable shopping environment tailored to a variety of shapes and sizes.”

Even though full-size women prefer to buy a brand that specializes in plus size clothing, the majority desire a wardrobe similar to that of their smaller sized friends with the same level of quality.

  • 86% of plus size women report that plus size clothing should be offered in the same colors as clothing sold for their smaller sized friends.
  • 79% of plus size women report they want clothing to be offered in the same styles as clothing sold for their smaller sized friends.
  • 39% of plus size women report they prefer to buy a brand that specializes in plus size clothing.

“The issues that plus size women face in store translate into the biggest opportunity for brands and retailers to grow their businesses today, stated Cohen. “There are so many consumers who wear at least one item that is plus size, and yet the market is dramatically underserved.”

[Source:  “Women Special Sizes Report.”  The NPD Group.  10 Sept. 2012.  Web.  11 Sept. 2012.]