The NPD Group Inc.

The NPD Group Inc.

March 12, 2008 12:10 ET

The NPD Group: Plus-Size Shoppers Now Account for One in Five Ladies Apparel Purchases in Canada

Special size apparel market segment rapidly growing but has room for improvement

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 12, 2008) - The $10.8 billion women's apparel market could far exceed its annual three per cent growth rate if it gave more attention to catering to all special sizes, says a recent Canadian Special Sizes report by the NPD Group. Sales of plus, petite plus, and tall sizes far outpace the overall apparel market, especially the ladies plus-size market which grew 20 per cent between 2003 and 2007 and now represents one out of every five purchases of ladies apparel in the total ladies apparel market.

However, the report also highlights dissatisfaction among plus-sized consumers compared with tall and petite-sized shoppers, who are able to find clothes in other apparel segments.

"The special sizes market, especially plus size, offers significant growth opportunity for Canadian retailers that are willing to offer a greater variety of wardrobe options and current fashions," says Kaileen Millard-Ruff, Director of Fashion for the NPD Group. "Our report shows that the Ladies Plus segment in 2007 was the fastest growing size segment and is now worth $2.1 billion. That's growth of $342 million dollars since 2003, despite significant levels of dissatisfaction with what is available to them. Just imagine if they were satisfied."

The NPD Group report highlights the commitment of dollars the Plus group rewards those retailers who have demonstrated a commitment to marketing to this segment in Canada. For example, the top 10 plus-size ladies-wear retailers make up 57 per cent of the total plus-size clothing market's dollar share. Conversely, the top 10 retailers of general women's apparel account for only 33 per cent of that market.

Changing Clothing Needs

According to the report, more than half of those surveyed believe they need a special size based on their body type. Furthermore, 46 per cent of women who typically buy regular sizes for themselves said they occasionally purchase special sizes.

Much of the rising demand is due to the spending power of the aging population and the lack of a consistent sizing standard in the apparel industry in Canada.

"Canadian Apparel Market Monitor (CAMM) data shows us women 45 and older represent more than 50 per cent of the dollars spent on ladies apparel," said Millard-Ruff. "So it should be no surprise that as women age they gradually drift into different size segments and/or want a more relaxed fit."

About The NPD Group

The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,600 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys, and wireless. For more information, visit

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