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Rise of mid-size fashion shoppers sees brands blur lines between standard and plus sizing

Tom Bottomley
28 June 2021

The rise of mid-size female fashion shoppers, sitting between UK sizes 12-18, is seeing apparel brands begin to blur the lines between standard and plus sizing, promoting greater size inclusivity within the fashion industry, according to the latest data from True Fit, the data-driven personalisation platform for fashion retailers.

“Mid-size goes mainstream” is True Fit’s message, with the data showing, as of May 2021, that most retailers now carry upwards of 90% of their catalogue in mid-size ranges. Globally, 38% of female True Fit users are mid-size, rising to 42% of women in the UK (39% in the US and 30% in Europe).

The original insight comes from True Fit’s Fashion Genome, fashion’s largest global connected data set which analyses data from almost 200 million shoppers and 16,000 brands and retailers on the platform.

High street and online fashion favourites are leading the way in the more inclusive sizing stakes, with H&M’s recent launch of its H&M+ range and announcement that some of its main lines would now go up to 2XL’s. Meanwhile, Mango followed suit with its Violetta range to offer greater ranging across its clothing and footwear, and ASOS launched ASOS CURVE, which now carries 1,789 women’s styles. In March, it also announced it would carry greater size ranging across its menswear offer too.

Sarah Curran Usher, Managing Director for EMEA at True Fit, commented: “Diversity and inclusion has become increasingly important for consumers – from readdressing gender diversity gaps to recognising gender fluidity in merchandising and adopting more sustainable practices, there is a growing trend for shoppers to, quite literally, wear their hearts on their sleeves as they demand ‘better’ when choosing who they shop with.

“Size inclusivity has long been an issue that fashion has struggled to shake, but the rise in mid-size shoppers – a new cohort which is now blurring the lines between traditional standard and plus sizes – is paving the way for a more diverse ranging and greater accessibility to styles for all sizes.

“It has also prompted retailers to take the opportunity to serve an as yet untapped demographic, which has so far been ‘unseen’ by the industry, creating a valuable new segment.  And that means the onus is on fashion retailers to be able to track and react to insights from these macro data trends in order to continue to evolve their offer to meet their customers’ needs.

The mid-size segment is a growing category in the US, with the percentage of mid-size sales increasing to 52% in 2020 (compared to 44% in 2017), True Fit’s data showed.

UK and EU mid-size sales decreased in 2020, down 11% and 5% respectively compared to 2017, however any decreases in mid-size purchases have corresponded directly with increased purchasing in plus size ranges.  So, if mid-size purchases went down 5%, True Fit saw an increase in plus size by a similar percentage.

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