The global plus-size market has gained momentum in the last couple of years, to the point that in 2019 it was valued at $480.9 Billion and is projected to reach $696.7 billion by 2027. This market is expected to show an incremental revenue opportunity of $215.8 billion from 2019 to 2027.
The US has set the bar high when successfully serving this market. Although some European retailers offer plus-size clothing, there is still room for more brands in the market and US plus-size fashion retailers could be vital to fulfilling the growing demand.
The average size of women in Europe is UK 14 – UK 16 (US 10 – US 12) in countries like Germany, the UK, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Despite this being the standard, plus-size women have difficulties finding clothes that fit their style needs. Today, plus-size women look for fashionable and modern items easily accessible. US brands know this and have created trendy plus-size clothing by considering the consumers’ desires.
Why is the plus-size fashion market continuing to grow?
One of the main reasons for the continued growth of plus-size clothing is the body positivity movement.
The body positivity movement started as a trend in 2012, and several industries, including fashion, became a part of it. Two brands that created powerful campaigns were Dove and Aerie and from that, more brands started paying attention and stepping into it.
This movement first started in the 1960s in the US due to the challenges and health risks overweight women faced when fitting into the standardized body types. Nowadays, this movement aims to promote healthy habits and support and celebrate all body shapes.
Promotional campaigns like Dove, Aerie, Vogue, Elle, and Glamour magazines, plus-size celebrities such as Adele, and models like Iskra, and Ashley Graham, have driven demand for the plus-size clothing market.
European women are also getting into this movement, and many do not want to get thinner. They are confident in their bodies and do not necessarily want to change them. This means they are looking for brands that meet their size and style needs and encourage women to be themselves.
US brands are recognized for mastering the plus-size market, giving them a competitive advantage in entering the European market and having higher chances of selling successfully.
What is the best channel for US plus-size clothing brands to expand into Europe?
In the last few years, e-commerce has become a primary sales channel, and after the pandemic, online fashion retailers have won significant market shares in Europe. The leading causes of this were sanitary regulations and lockdowns, creating the need to consume products online.
According to the European Commission, the digital sales share increased from 62% in 2015 to 72% in 2020, showing that clothes, shoes, and accessories were the most popular purchased products in the European Union. Now, after the pandemic started, the fashion segment is projected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2022-2025) of 14.50%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$365.9 billion by 2025. This indicates that online sales are in continued growth, as consumers are now more used to buying online due to convenience and a more extensive selection of products.
This growth has also made marketplaces the customer’s go-to place to buy apparel and the home for fashion brands to sell their products due to their already high brand awareness and recognition. The top 6 apparel import markets in the EU are Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland. Germany is the largest importer of apparel products in the EU, with a total import value of €30.2 billion, making it an excellent opportunity for US plus-size fashion brands to enter the European market.
Germany is the largest market within the EU; it is home to the largest and most popular fashion and lifestyle marketplaces, such as Otto, About You, Sheego and Zalando. They collectively have net sales of €18 billion, making it possible to help boost the sales of foreign brands in Europe.
Founded in 1949, the OTTO Group is one of the largest eCommerce companies in the world, with online sales of more than €11 billion and over 3,400 sale partners. Otto.de is Germany`s most significant fashion and lifestyle marketplace.
Founded in 2014, it is Europe’s fastest-growing fashion e-tailer and part of the OTTO Group. It is considered a unicorn with a value of more than US$1 billion. Since 2020, About You has expanded to 23 countries in the EU with over 2,000 brands, including exclusive collaboration collections with designers.
Established in 2008, Zalando is the most prominent fashion e-commerce marketplace in Europe. It’s available in 23 countries across Europe and sells over 4,500 different brands, with net sales of €8 billion. Zalando is a unique marketplace with a betting process, providing exclusivity and visibility to its brands.
How can US plus-size clothing brands be part of this booming trend?
We know that expanding into a new country can come with some complexities. Here is where we can provide help to businesses.
We, as BorderGuru, have a solution called Marketplace Partners, which provides brands with tools to expand their business in the growing European marketplaces efficiently. Our solution offers brands localized services, such as tax and legal compliance, localized customer service, warehousing, logistics, and much more, eliminating all complexities of international growth.
Plus-size clothing is a promising sector within the fashion industry, suggesting that there is still so much space and many opportunities for brands to expand and new ones to enter.
Be a part of this ever-growing sector in Europe! Contact us now and get a free international growth assessment for your business today!