The demographic of midsize fashion shoppers is growing. Thirty-eight percent of global female True Fit users are midsize, including 39 percent of women in the U.S. and 42 percent in the U.K., according to the data-driven personalization platform for fashion retailers.
The growth of this size segment is prompting brands to think about size differently.
In fact, the company’s data insights from its Fashion Genome, True Fit’s global connected data which analyzes data from nearly 200 million shoppers and 16,000 brands and retailers on the platform, revealed recently that most retailers now carry upwards of 90 percent of their catalogue in midsize ranges — a sign that the company says retailers are becoming more size-inclusive.
As a growing category in the U.S., the percentage of midsize sales increased from 52 percent in 2020, compared to 44 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, midsize sales in the U.K. and E.U. decreased by 11 percent and 5 percent respectively in 2020, compared to 2017. However, all decreases in midsize purchases, True Fit reported, have also corresponded directly with increased purchasing in plus size ranges — meaning when midsize purchases went down by 5 percent, True Fit saw an increase in plus size by a similar percentage.
“Size inclusivity has long been an issue that fashion has struggled to shake, but the rise in midsize shoppers — a new cohort which is now blurring the lines between traditional standard and plus sizes — is paving the way for a more diverse ranging and greater accessibility to styles for all sizes,” said Sarah Curran-Usher MBE, MD EMEA at True Fit. “It has also prompted retailers to take the opportunity to serve an as yet untapped demographic, which has so far been ‘unseen’ by the industry — creating a valuable new segment. And that means the onus is on fashion retailers to be able to track and react to insights from these macro data trends in order to continue to evolve their offer to meet their customers’ needs.”
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Notably, True Fit’s data called out some of the leading retailers in the U.K., the company reported, are taking steps to promote size inclusivity, including H&M, Mango and Asos.
As more retailers look to better address the midsize segment, Jessica Murphy, cofounder and chief customer officer at True Fit, said, “the first step, before you can address any adjustments to sizing or size ranges, is to make sure you truly understand who your customer is and how they shop.”
As the midsize demographic continues to grow, True Fit suggests it is prompting brands and retailers to start blurring the lines between standard and plus sizes. This means offering midsizing to cater to both and thinking about sizing in terms of a wide range continuum, instead of within rigid segments of the past.
According to Murphy, this understanding involves an analysis not only of sizing demographics but also style and fit preferences. For example, True Fit has found that consumers who shop in larger sizes tend to like a deeper or higher neckline than those who shop in smaller sizes of the same product.
“As the midsize demographic grows, it’s critical to understand what your midsize shopper wants in order to feel confident,” said Murphy. “By using this insight to construct size ranges for the midsize market, retailers can ensure they build the range with attributes more specific than size. This will allow them to offer more inclusive sizing to serve the growing midsize market, but in a way that is profitable and sustainable, and that serves up products and styles shoppers will love and keep. Getting sizing and styling right for your target demographic is critical for driving loyalty amongst the growing base of midsize buyers.”
With all changes to sizing as lines continue to blur for more inclusive sizing, Murphy noted that it is important to consider that it will be tricky for consumers to navigate. Ultimately, she said, it will be up to retailers and their technology to mitigate, by introducing better ways to translate and communicate sizing across brands and styles.
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