UK consumers will spend GBP5.4bn (US$8.37bn) on plus-size clothing in 2015, up 5.9% year-on-year, with the women's market leading the growth.

According to research and consultancy firm Conlumino, 24.8% of UK consumers buy plus-size clothing, with the market worth GBP5.1bn last year. And growth is set to continue, with this figure estimated to rise 23.8% to GBP6.4bn in 2019.

Retailers are now looking to normalise the marketing and promotion of their plus-size ranges, Conlumino says, most recently by exploiting UK Plus Size Fashion Week to showcase their latest collections. It adds that the boom in press and social media from plus-size models and bloggers has driven popularity, with greater acceptance among consumers indentifying as plus-size.

“The appeal from social media, coupled with growing obesity rates, has helped to accelerate demand on the high street for more fashionable on-trend products in bigger sizes, bridging the barrier between brands and plus size consumers,” says Conlumino retail analyst Rebecca Marks.

And the women's market is the fastest growing, as spend here reached GBP3.1bn last year, compared to men's, which saw its market value total GBP2bn.

Marks & Spencer leads the way, with 10.6% of all expenditure on women’s plus-size clothing being made through the retailer in 2014. Plus-size specialist Evans holds second place at 6.5%, followed by Debenhams (5.9%), Asda (5.4%) and Primark (4.8%).

Conlumino says retailers have swiftly responded to increased demand for size 18 (women’s) and XL plus (men’s) clothing. In addition, established chains have expanded product ranges and size offerings, while emerging players are also gaining ground.

This is exemplified by the launch of Boohoo Plus, and Giles Deacon and Clements Ribeiro reworking pieces from their collections for Evans’ Design Collective range.