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Fashion - Size Matters - UK - July 2011

Less than a third of women find it easy getting clothes that fit, indicating that for the remaining 20 million women in Britain shopping for clothes and finding the right size can be a struggle. The widespread consensus is that sizes vary – sometimes vastly – between different brands and retailers, fuelled by the strategic use of ‘vanity sizing’ by retailers to encourage consumer spending. This presents a major opportunity for retailers, designers and clothes manufacturers to tackle the issue of fit, by responding more closely to women’s highly variable body shapes and size requirements.

This report covers the non-standard size fashion market, which is defined as:

  • Clothing for women in sizes 18 or over;
  • Clothing specifically designed as petite or tall ranges and other garments bought by women under 5’3" or over 5’9";
  • Menswear in sizes XL or larger.
  • Childrenswear may be mentioned in passing but is not included in market sizes.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definitions
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Plus-size women’s clothing outperforming womenswear market
                • Figure 1: Best and worst case forecast value sales of plus-size womenswear, 2006-16
              • Larger menswear growing in line with the market
                • Figure 2: Best and worst case forecast value sales of plus-size menswear, 2006-16
              • Value of petite market hits £2.0 billion
                • Market factors
                  • Ageing population to boost plus-size market
                    • Changing body sizes
                      • Larger consumers do not enjoy shopping
                        • The consumer
                          • Nearly a fifth of consumers are plus-size
                            • Size trends
                              • Figure 3: Clothes sizes bought by women, 2006, 2008 and 2011
                              • Figure 4: Clothes sizes bought by men, 2006, 2008 and 2011
                            • Plus-size population concentrated in the over-55s
                              • Figure 5: Estimates of plus-size UK population, by age group, 2011 and 2016
                            • Supermarkets top choice for plus-sizes
                              • Figure 6: Retailers from where people buy clothes in-store, by gender and size, April 2011.
                            • Bigger sizes marginalised by fashion retailers
                              • Larger women turn to specialists
                                • Figure 7: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by gender and size, April 2011
                              • Size inconsistency causes frustration
                                • Plus-size women lack choice
                                  • The minority have ease getting the right fit
                                    • Fit is the major barrier to shopping online
                                      • Figure 8: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by gender and size, April 2011
                                    • Women are more body-conscious than men
                                      • Plus-size women in favour of larger models and mannequins
                                        • Only petite women interested in size division in-store
                                          • Have attitudes changed?
                                            • Figure 9: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, April 2011 and April 2010
                                          • What we think?
                                          • Issues in the Market

                                              • What is driving growth in the plus-size clothing market?
                                                • Who is innovating in the plus-size market?
                                                  • Have plus-size consumers’ views of the high street changed?
                                                    • Should society be catering for or preventing plus-sizes?
                                                      • How do consumers feel about sizing and fit?
                                                        • How can retailers make finding the right fit easier?
                                                        • Future Opportunities

                                                            • Trend: Make it Mine
                                                              • Trend: Life Hacking
                                                              • Internal Market Environment

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Overweight and obesity prevalent in the UK
                                                                    • Figure 10: Percentage of overweight and obese adults, in England by BMI, 2004-09
                                                                    • Figure 11: Percentage of adults who are overweight and obese in England, by gender, 1993-2009
                                                                    • Figure 12: Proportion of obese population, by gender, 2005-50
                                                                  • Highest rates of obesity within the 45-74 age group
                                                                    • Figure 13: Percentage of adult population, in England with BMI of over 30, by age group, 2000, 2004 and 2009
                                                                  • Childhood obesity undesirably high
                                                                    • Figure 14: Children’s overweight and obesity prevalence, 2004-09
                                                                  • Two in five women trying to lose weight
                                                                    • Figure 15: Adults agreeing that ‘Most of the time I am trying to lose weight’, 2010
                                                                  • Larger sizes choose comfort over style
                                                                    • Plus-sizes spend less on clothes
                                                                      • Figure 16: Attitudes towards clothes shopping, 2010
                                                                  • Broader Market Environment

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Ageing population to benefit market
                                                                        • Figure 17: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2006-16
                                                                      • Socio-economic shifts present opportunities
                                                                        • Figure 18: Trends in the socio-economic structure of the UK population, 2006-16
                                                                      • Tough trading conditions but light at the end of the tunnel
                                                                        • Figure 19: GDP, PDI, consumer expenditure and savings, at constant 2011 prices, 2006-16
                                                                      • The macro-economic outlook remains fragile
                                                                        • Figure 20: Trends in GDP quarterly percentage change, Q1 2004-Q1 2011
                                                                      • Caution prevails
                                                                        • Figure 21: Trends in consumer confidence, January 2008-April 2011
                                                                    • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                                                      • Strengths
                                                                        • Weaknesses
                                                                        • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                          • Retailers target the more mature shopper
                                                                            • Young plus-size fashion
                                                                              • Shape issues
                                                                                • Shift towards ‘real’ models
                                                                                  • Innovative technology to improve fit
                                                                                  • Competitive Context

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Plus-size womenswear outperforms
                                                                                        • Figure 22: Value sales of plus size womenswear, compared with all womenswear, at current prices, 2006-11
                                                                                      • Steady growth in larger menswear
                                                                                        • Figure 23: Retail value sales of plus size menswear, compared with all menswear at current prices, 2006-11
                                                                                      • Online clothing market key for plus-sizes
                                                                                        • Figure 24: Value sales of online clothing and footwear, compared with over-55s clothing, at current prices, 2006-11
                                                                                      • Three in ten over-55 women are plus-size
                                                                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Market segmentation
                                                                                            • Impressive growth of plus-size womenswear market
                                                                                              • Figure 25: Value sales of plus-size womenswear, at current and constant prices, 2006-16
                                                                                            • Value of petite market reaches £2.0 billion
                                                                                              • Figure 26: Value sales of petite womenswear, at current and constant prices, 2006-16
                                                                                            • Plus-size menswear shows stable growth
                                                                                              • Figure 27: Value sales of plus size menswear, at current and constant prices, 2006-16
                                                                                            • The future
                                                                                              • Larger womenswear forecast to grow by 43%
                                                                                                • Figure 28: Best and worst case forecast value sales of plus-size womenswear, 2006-16
                                                                                              • Menswear market to grow by 13%
                                                                                                • Figure 29: Best and worst case forecast sales of plus-size menswear, 2006-16
                                                                                              • Petite market shows robust growth
                                                                                                • Figure 30: Best and worst case forecast value sales of petite womenswear, 2006-16
                                                                                              • Factors used in the forecast
                                                                                              • Retail Competitor Analysis

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Womenswear non-specialists
                                                                                                    • Menswear non-specialists
                                                                                                      • Specialists
                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Leading clothing retailers, 2009/10
                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Leading non-specialist clothing retailers, 2009/10
                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Specialist plus, tall and petite clothing retailers and selected mail order operators, 2009/10
                                                                                                    • Companies and Products

                                                                                                      • Ann Harvey
                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Financial performance of the Alexon Group, 2009-10
                                                                                                        • Artigiano
                                                                                                          • Elvi
                                                                                                            • Evans
                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Financial performance of the Arcadia Group, 2009-10
                                                                                                              • Long Tall Sally
                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Financial performance of Long Tall Sally, 2009-10
                                                                                                                • N Brown Group
                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Financial performance of N Brown Group Plc, 2009-10
                                                                                                                  • Shop Direct
                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Financial performance of Shop Direct Ltd, 2009-10
                                                                                                                    • Yours
                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Financial performance of Size Up Clothing Stores Ltd, 2009-10
                                                                                                                    • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Expenditure on advertising, by non-standard size clothing specialists, 2006-10
                                                                                                                      • Slight fall in adspend in 2010
                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Expenditure on advertising by non-standard size clothing specialists % share by media type, 2006-10
                                                                                                                        • Direct mail tops specialists’ adspend
                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Which Clothes Sizes Are Bought?

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Women
                                                                                                                              • Figure 42: UK clothing sizes bought by women, April 2011
                                                                                                                            • Nearly one in five women wear plus-size
                                                                                                                              • A quarter of women are petite
                                                                                                                                • Age is the dominant factor
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: UK clothing sizes bought by women, by age, April 2011
                                                                                                                                  • C2DE females wear bigger sizes
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: UK clothing sizes bought by women, by socio-economic group, April 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Men
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: UK clothing sizes bought, by men, April 2011
                                                                                                                                    • One fifth of men are plus-size
                                                                                                                                      • Men’s size related to age
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: UK clothing sizes bought by men, April 2011
                                                                                                                                        • AB men most likely to be plus-size
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: UK clothing sizes bought by men, by age and socio-economic group, April 2011
                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Who Shops Where, By Size

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 48: Retailers where people buy clothes in-store, April 2011
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 49: Retailers where people buy clothes online, April 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Value retailers at the top
                                                                                                                                              • Supermarkets are the first choice for plus-sizes
                                                                                                                                                • Marks & Spencer attracts larger sizes
                                                                                                                                                  • Department stores overlook plus-size women
                                                                                                                                                    • Next fails to attract larger shoppers
                                                                                                                                                      • Fashion retailers alienate plus-sizes
                                                                                                                                                        • Specialists appeal to size 20+ shoppers
                                                                                                                                                          • Where plus-size women shop
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: In-store retailers where people buy clothes, by size, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Size 18 and size 20+ women shop differently
                                                                                                                                                            • Where plus-size men shop
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 51: In-store retailers where people buy clothes, by size, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Most XXL men shop at Marks & Spencer or supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – How They Feel about Shopping for Clothes

                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Feelings towards shopping for clothes, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Discontent over inconsistent sizes prevails
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Feelings towards shopping for clothes, by UK women’s clothing sizes, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Plus-sizes avoid fitting rooms
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Agreement that ‘I prefer to try on clothes to check that it fits before buying it’, by UK women’s clothing sizes, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Limited choice for bigger sizes
                                                                                                                                                                      • Challenging for women to find clothes that fit
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Feelings towards shopping for clothes, by UK men’s clothing sizes, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                        • Smallest dress sizes sell out
                                                                                                                                                                          • Few shops offer fashionable plus-size clothing
                                                                                                                                                                            • Female body shape concerns increase with size
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Feelings towards shopping for clothes, by UK women’s clothing sizes, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                              • Plus-sizes most confident online shoppers
                                                                                                                                                                                • Greater choice online for bigger sizes
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: feelings towards shopping for clothes online, by UK women’s clothing sizes, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Shopping For Clothes

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 58: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Size influences fashion choices
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by UK women’s clothing sizes, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Larger shoppers want larger models
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Plus-size women in favour of larger mannequins
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 60: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by UK women’s clothing sizes, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Size 14+ women opt for slimming clothes
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Half of petite women need alterations
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Petites interested in separate shopping areas, but not plus-sizes
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Size 18+ women dislike asking for their size
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Half of plus-size women believe they pay more
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: marketing targets based on clothes size issues, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Little Interest (38%)
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Size Conscious (17%)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Moderate Concern (21%)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Image Conscious (25%)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 62: Marketing targets based on clothes size issues, by gender, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 63: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by target group, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Internal Market Environment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Agreement with statements on personal appearance, by demographics, 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Consumer – Which Clothes Sizes are Bought?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Most popular UK clothing sizes bought by women, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Next most popular UK clothing sizes bought by women, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: UK clothing sizes bought by men, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – The Consumer – Who Shops Where, by Size

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Retailers where women buy clothes, by UK clothing sizes bought by women, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Retailers where women buy clothes, by UK clothing sizes bought by women, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 70: Retailers where men buy clothes, by UK clothing sizes bought by men, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 71: Retailers where men buy clothes, by UK clothing sizes bought by men, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 72: Most popular in-store retailers where women buy clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 73: Next most popular in-store retailers where women buy clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 74: Most popular online retailers where women buy clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 75: Next most popular online retailers where women buy clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 76: Most popular in-store retailers where men buy clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 77: Next most popular in-store retailers where men buy clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 78: Other in-store retailers where men buy clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 79: Online retailers where men buy clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – The Consumer – How They Feel About Shopping for Clothes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 80: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by most popular UK clothing sizes bought, by women, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 81: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by next most popular UK clothing sizes bought, by women, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 82: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by UK clothing sizes bought by men, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 83: Most popular attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 84: Next most popular attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 85: Other attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Shopping for Clothes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 86: Attitudes towards buying clothes, by most popular UK clothing sizes bought by women, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 87: Attitudes towards buying clothes, by next most popular UK clothing sizes bought by women, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 88: Attitudes towards buying clothes, by UK clothing sizes bought by men, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 89: Most popular attitudes towards buying clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 90: Next most popular attitudes towards buying clothes, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 91: Retailers where people buy clothes, by target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 92: UK clothing sizes bought by women, by target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 93: UK clothing sizes bought by men, by target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 94: Attitudes towards shopping for clothes, by target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 95: Attitudes towards buying clothes, by target groups, April 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Alexon Group
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Arcadia Group
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • ASOS (UK retail sales)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cotton Traders Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Country Casuals Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Debenhams Total (GTV)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Dorothy Perkins old
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Elvi Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Evans old
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Freemans Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • French Connection (Retail)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • H&M Hennes & Mauritz
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • House of Fraser Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Hugo Boss
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Jean Paul Gaultier SA
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • John Lewis Plc (department store)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Kangol
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • La Redoute (pre 20xx)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Levi Strauss (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Long Tall Sally Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Matalan Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Monsoon Accessorize Ltd - UK
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Moss Bros Group Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • N Brown Group Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • New Look Group Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Peacocks
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Primark Stores Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Reiss Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • River Island Clothing Co Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Scala Collections Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Selfridges Group
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Shop Direct Home Shopping Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Splendour
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ted Baker
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • The TJX Companies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Topman old
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Topshop old
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Trinity Mirror plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Wallis old
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Yours Clothing
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fashion - Size Matters - UK - July 2011

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