Member Brief No. 21: Emerging Apparel Category Report

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Pictured: Primary Cloth

In 2017, the online apparel market amassed a $100 billion dollar year for the first time in history. Consumers have grown accustomed to making these types of purchases without the need to touch, try, or toil with their buying decisions. In this report, we break down two subcategories of the online apparel market. They share one thing in common: each category has been disrupted in the past two years and in both cases, there’s more to come. These two subcategories stood out for areas that have the most potential for growth in 2019 and beyond:

  • plus size
  • children’s apparel

Plus sizing, alas!

The plus size subcategory is ripe for disruption with new players joining the fold by the month. It’s no longer novel to offer sizing up to 5x. In fact, consumers are beginning to see brands focus on providing real fashion options to more Americans. While Columbus’ Lane Bryant (sales growth of 18.1% in 2017) has been around for nearly 120 years, it’s never been viewed as a fashion forward or technically-savvy company. And Ashley Stewart Inc. (sales growth of 26.7% in 2017) also began as a physical-first retailer in 1991. Both brands have suffered at the hands of private equity’s influx of cash and unfriendly voting control. But private equity is not solely to blame. And both are desperately pivoting to a retail world that is more welcoming to digitally native vertical players.

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This content is designed exclusively for Executive Members