Plus-Size Dresses in Australia

There’s an undeniable market opportunity in the Australian plus-size market. Question is, how are fast fashion brands reacting to this lucrative segment? This report takes a closer look at the current landscape - and how Australian retailers and brands can tap into this growing demographic.

Written by Atiqah KamarudinSeptember 27, 2019

Introduction

According to IBISWorld study, the plus-size market in Australia is expected to reach USD1 billion in 2019. The growing rate of obesity in the country, whereby close to 70% of the population age 18 and above are expected to be overweight in 2019 would further contribute to the growth of the segment.

Over the past few years, the fashion industry has been embracing the body positivity movement as seen on the runways, ads and campaigns. From Christian Soriano’s runway shows to Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie line, many have come to celebrate the diversity and inclusivity in fashion. However, how fast do clothing retailers react to this thriving industry?

In this report, we reviewed ten plus-size brands retailing on The Iconic in Australia, to have an overview of how the plus-size market fare in the biggest and most popular category – dresses.

More than 2,000 data points were analysed over the Fall/Winter 2019 season from March to August, on the following brands:

 

  1. Atmos&Here Curvy
  2. Missguided Curvy
  3. DP Curve
  4. Tussah Curve
  5. Evans
  6. Calli Curve
  7. Lost Ink Plus
  8. Estelle
  9. Advocado Plus
  10. Hope & Harvest

 

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Brand Performance Overview

Dresses was the main volume driver, commanding 34% of the new-in assortment, followed by Tops (24%) and Outerwear (18%).

Brand Performance

Out of the 10 brands analysed, 6 cater to both regular and plus-sizes. Overall, the regular-line had nearly 6x more SKUs than the plus-size line but with similar percentage of discounted products. However, the plus-size range had a much higher sell-out rate compared to the regular-line (73% vs. 59%), indicating a strong demand for plus-size clothing.

 

Winners

DP Curve performed strongly during the season with lower than average discounted items, yet garnering above average sell-out rates on both total and full price.

Despite achieving a below average total sell-out rate, Atmos&Here Curvy, which had 3x more assortment than other brands performed well at full price. Available exclusively on The Iconic, the brand was also active in introducing new arrivals during the season.

 

Losers

Evans not only failed to drive high sell-outs (even with the help of high discounted items), but was also one of the brands with the least newness. On the flip side, while Hope & Harvest and Lost Ink Plus achieved high sell-outs, they were highly driven by discounts. Advocado Plus also performed poorly, registering the lowest sell-out rate despite having only 29 SKUs.

 

 

content image-3 Plus-Size Dresses in Australia

Key Subcategories & Styles

New-In Assortment by Subcategory

Wrap Dresses was the volume driver, contributing for 30% of the newness, followed by Swing & Trapeze Dresses (17%), and Shirt Dresses (12%). These three subcategories also commanded the top three subcategories in the entire dress assortment, signalling key core offerings in plus-size dresses.

 

New-In Styles

The key styles spotted this season among the brands in focus included animal prints, romantic florals and belted waist.

Similar to the regular-line, animal prints were particularly popular, taking over the fall/winter season with 16% contribution of total newness. The classic leopard print still reigned supreme but snake and zebra prints also showed signs of increasing popularity. Among brands popularising these wild prints included Atmos&Here Curvy, Missguided Curve and Evans.

Florals, synonymous with the warmer season, were also favoured this season as it took up 13% of the entire new-in assortment. The romantic print appeared in bigger and bolder design, mostly carried by Missguided Curve and Estelle.

Belted or cinched waist continued to be a popular design for plus-size dresses as it saw a significant contribution in both new arrivals and sell-outs. Atmos&Here Curvy, DP Curve and Missguided Curve were among the advocates of this figure flattering silhouette, which appeared in the form of Wrap Dresses.

 

 

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Colour Performance Analysis

Core Colours

The core colours – black, blue, grey and brown – accounted for nearly 70% of the plus-size dresses’ total assortment, newness and sell-out during the period. Deep and darker hues were popular this season – with black unsurprisingly taking the lead, covering almost 40% of each metric.

Blue consistently took the second spot after black, indicating another popular colour for plus-size dresses. Dresses in blue mostly came in solid darker tones such as navy blue, taking up more than half of the colour’s contributions (Chart 8). Brown and grey, on the other hand, were mostly found in prints rather than solids, with animal prints such as the popular leopard print and snake print taking the lead.

Meanwhile, white was less popular during the season compared to the other core colours, especially for solids.

 

Fashion Colours

Similarly, darker shades also took precedence in fashion colours. Red was the most prominent fashion colour, as it appeared as the only fashion colour commanding a spot in the top 5 colours across all metrics. This signifies red to be a must-have fashion colour to invest across seasonality. Newness for this colour mostly comprised of shades such as burgundy and crimson red.

Other popular colours included pink and purple, which did well consistently in all metrics.

 

 

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Bestsellers

As seen on Chart 3, Wrap Dresses was a key subcategory, evident in the bestsellers list. The silhouette appeared across all three trends spotted during the season – animal prints, romantic florals and belted waist. Atmos&Here Curvy and Missguided Curvy drove these key styles, mostly in midi and mini lengths.

Black and dark blue remained a popular choice among consumers, while brown was mostly favoured for animal print dresses. The bestselling shades of the key fashion colour, red, were mostly comprised of deep, autumnal shades such as crimson and burgundy.

 

content image-5 Plus-Size Dresses in Australia

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Meet the Author

Atiqah Kamarudin

Nur Atiqah Kamarudin is a Senior Business Intelligence Analyst at Omnilytics. With past experience at Nielsen and Euromonitor, she has spent years analysing data and unearthing insights to help brands and retailers make informed decisions. She currently produces reports on the fashion industry and its changing retail scene across the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Southeast Asia.

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