NPD Group Reports Size Matters to American Women

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The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, released results of the Women Special Sizes report.

The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, released results of the Women Special Sizes report. The study shows two-thirds of females, within a nationally representative sample of females age 13+, self-classify themselves as wearing clothing that is considered “special sized.” One-third of these females self-classify themselves as plus size women, the highest represented size group among special size women.

“Despite the fact there has been an increase in plus size offerings through some traditionally ‘regular sized’ brands, the demand for designer brands and styles in larger sizes in still in full swing, “said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Women of all ages and shapes want to enjoy the latest fashions of the season and are willing to spend the money in order to feel comfortable and confident.”

“Plus size women think differently than regular sized women about clothing and their attitudes reflect that difference,” stated Cohen. “In order to be successful in this category, retailers and brands need to create a comfortable shopping environment tailored to a variety of shapes and sizes.”

Even though full-size women prefer to buy a brand that specializes in plus size clothing, the majority desire a wardrobe similar to that of their smaller sized friends with the same level of quality.

“The issues that plus size women face in store translate into the biggest opportunity for brands and retailers to grow their businesses today," stated Cohen. “There are so many consumers who wear at least one item that is plus size, and yet the market is dramatically underserved.”

Methodology: Women who indicated wearing a special size (i.e., a size other than missy/regular) for either category were classified as “special size” and asked a series of questions about one clothing category for which they wear a special size. Note: the clothing category was selected at random if the respondent was classified as special size for more than one category.

Missy/regular size women were also included in the respondent base for comparative purposes. To be classified as “regular size,” the respondent had to indicate wearing a missy/regular size across four key apparel categories (tops, bottoms, bras and panties). A clothing category was then randomly selected for the series of category specific questions.

The study was administered to a nationally balanced sample of females age 13+ via NPD’s Online Panel from June 4 – June 14, 2012.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 2,000 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food, home and office, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, contact us, visit, or follow us Twitter at

Erin Cohen
The NPD Group, Inc.

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