Soaring cost of our expanding waistlines: 4.2billion will be spent on plus-size outfits this year – up 40% in five years

The soaring cost of our expanding waistlines: 4.2billion will be spent on plus-size outfits this year – up 40per cent in five years

By
Lucy Waterlow

PUBLISHED:

17:52 GMT, 9 August 2012

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UPDATED:

23:11 GMT, 9 August 2012

Expanding waistlines: 31 per cent of British women wear garments sized 16 or above

Expanding waistlines: 31 per cent of British women wear garments sized 16 or above

The changing shape of Britons' waistlines has seen spending on plus-size clothing reach a record 11million a day.

A new report reveals sales of plus-size clothes will top 4.2 billion in 2012, up 40 per cent since 2007.

The report also reveals that one in five men wear extra-large or larger clothing with a waist measurement of 38 inches or more while 31 per cent of women wear garments sized 16 or above.

Despite flagging clothes sales in 2012, the women’s plus-size market is expected to grow by seven per cent this year.

Market analysts Mintel forecasts the total value of the plus-size clothing market will reach 8 billion by 2017.

It says that 42 per cent of women now have a waist size of 35 inches, up from 20 per cent of women who were this size in 1951.

Meanwhile, the average bust size if 38C, up from 36B and hip sizes have increased from 39 inches to 40 inches.

This puts the majority of women in he upper end of sizing at most High Street fashion chains.

The research also found that one in three consumers struggle to find clothes that fit them well.

Mintel said that while size 12 remains the most commonly purchased dress size among UK women, with a fifth of female consumers buying their clothes in this size – over the past year, there has been a significant decline in the number of women who take a size 12.

Last year almost a quarter (24 per cent) of the nation’s women claimed to be size 12, this year this has declined to 21 per cent.

Meanwhile, the number of women taking size 14 and 18 have increased in number.

Forget size zero: Fashion retailers need to stock more plus-sized ranges, like this swimwear collection from H&M, if they want to ensure a share of the market for larger clothes

Forget size zero: Fashion retailers need to stock more plus-sized ranges, like this swimwear collection from H&M, if they want to ensure a share of the market for larger clothes

But while the past year has seen an increase in sizes 12 and above there has been no change in the number of women wearing size 10 (18 per cent) and size 8 or smaller (12 per cent).

Today, more than 17 per cent of British women wears size 18 and above.

The study shows a direct link between
size and age. More than a third (36 per cent) of 16 to 24-year-olds are a
size eight or smaller and 34 per cent are a size 10.

By contrast, the largest proportion of consumers sized 14 and over are older consumers.

Neil Mason, head of retail research at Mintel, said: 'This latest research confirms that the nation is growing larger and as such the increasing importance of larger sizes to the clothing industry.

'Unless the mainstream fashion market becomes more sympathetic to larger consumers’ needs, it runs the risk of becoming ostracised from this increasingly united group on a permanent basis, and given the changing shape of the global marketplace, may run the risk of damaging brands and designer names in fashion for the long term among the ‘growing’ majority.'

Regionally, London has the slimmest women, with one in five a size 10 or less.

Some 15 per cent of women from the North and Scotland are a size 18 or above.

And it is not only the nation’s ladies who are wearing larger clothes sizes, today, one in five (21 per cent) British men wear plus-sized clothing (clothing that is XL or over) with men gradually migrating out into large, XL and XXL, with age.

One in ten (11 per cent) consumers say that they struggle to find clothes to fit their size, while three in ten (31 per cent) struggle to find clothes that fit well.

A third of Brits say that not enough shops offer ranges to cater for different sizes, while a further 14 per cent say that they find a greater choice for their size on the internet.

Four in 10 consumers only tend to buy from two or three brands or stores because they know the clothes will fit them.

Mr Mason said: 'This reveals the scale of this sizing issue as a stumbling block, and suggests that more consistent industry sizing could drastically expand the buying habits of consumers.'