The types of clothing sizes teens are buying is changing

The types of clothing sizes teens are buying is changing

Teenage females are reinvigorating the US plus-size market, with the number buying plus-size clothing having almost doubled since 2012, new research suggests.

According to the 2015 Women's Special Sizes Study from global information company The NPD Group, females aged between 13 and 17 in the US are changing when it comes to the clothing sizes they are purchasing. 

While the number of US teens purchasing in the junior size category has declined – from 81% in 2012, to 73% in 2015 – the percentage of those buying plus-size clothing has grown almost two-fold – now 34%, compared to 19% in 2012. 

"Teens are reinvigorating the plus-size market," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group. "Today's young consumers know what they want and won't settle for less. This energy will turn up the volume at retail for the plus-size apparel market overall, which is important but sometimes overlooked." 

As a whole, plus-size consumers want a wider variety of styles in their wardrobes, with half of them seeking apparel brands that make both regular and plus-sizes, the study found. In addition, teens are the most likely of all age groups to feel that "brands design plus-size clothing as an afterthought" and "plus-size clothing should be offered in the same styles available for my smaller friends". 

Juniors, the largest of all teen special-size segments, were found to be more style-conscious consumers, as they have specific apparel likes and dislikes that set them apart from the other special size groups; but at the same time, they are on a limited budget. Juniors also shop more frequently for tops and bottoms compared to other size groups. 

In contrast, plus-size women make the fewest shopping trips per year for bottoms compared to other size groups.

"A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work for most clothing, and it doesn't work for marketing to consumers either," Cohen added. 

"The junior-size and plus-size mindsets are converging in the growing plus-size teen consumer segment, and it is just the beginning. Addressing the distinct differences in the way we market to, and deliver product for, junior and plus-size consumers is the first step to maximising the potential of the entire special-size apparel market."