Amazon Taps the Plus-Size Market: A Fast-Growing Retailer Meets a Higher-Growth Apparel Market

Editors' top picks for a summer wardrobe on Amazon's plus size fashion page.

On June 14, Coresight Research’s New York team cohosted a daylong conference called One Size Does Not Fit All: Inclusive Design & the Modern Consumer, which focused attention on underserved and niche apparel markets, including adaptive fashion for disabled consumers and the plus-size market. Many attendees expressed interest in the changing nature of the plus-size market and the opportunities it presents for new entrants.

In this week’s note, we build on those conversations as we discuss a relative newcomer to the plus-size market: Amazon. Drawing on recently collated data on Amazon’s private-label offering that competitive intelligence provider DataWeave produced for Coresight Research, we show the scale of Amazon’s own offering in women’s plus-size clothing.

Amazon’s plus-size offering is notable because it represents the confluence of a fast-growing apparel retailer and a higher-growth market. Amazon is already America’s second-most-shopped retailer of apparel, and it looks to be grabbing market share from incumbents. Meanwhile, the US plus-size market is growing considerably faster than the total women’s clothing market.

Plus-Size Products Account for Just 6.6% of Amazon’s Private-Label Womenswear Products

Amazon has rapidly built out a substantial private-label clothing, footwear and accessories offering in an effort to build share in the $400 billion US apparel market. In our most recent analysis, we identified 4,904 Amazon private-label products available across women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, footwear and accessories. Of those, 3,219 were women’s clothing products.

Several of Amazon’s womenswear brands contain substantial plus-size offerings, yet the retailer’s plus-size ranges overall remain relatively minor compared with its total private-label offering. As the table below shows, we identified 213 private-label women’s clothing products that were categorized as plus-size: that is equivalent to just 6.6% of the 3,219 private-label womenswear products the company sells. And Amazon’s plus-size offering is highly concentrated:

  • Some 45 of Amazon’s 74 identified private labels offer women’s clothing. But only 10 of these offer plus-size womenswear and only one of them—The Plus Project—is a dedicated plus-size brand.
  • In descending order, sportswear brand Core 10, swimwear brand Coastal Blue, and casualwear brands Daily Ritual and Arabella register the greatest proportion of products categorized as plus-size.
  • Lark & Ro is Amazon’s core womenswear private label and its biggest apparel brand by total number of products offered. However, only 22 of Lark & Ro’s products are categorized as plus-size, equivalent to just 3.8% of the brand’s range.

 

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To offer some comparison, our recent research on various department stores’ plus-size offerings found that 37% of jeans and 17% of dresses offered online by JCPenney were available in plus sizes. At Kohl’s, 26% of jeans and 16% of dresses offered online were stocked in plus sizes. Amazon therefore has some distance to go before its private-label plus-size offerings rival those of major department stores in terms of number of products offered.

Amazon’s Segmented Approach to Fashion Suggests that It Will Grow Its Plus-Size Offering

We think that Amazon’s apparent strategy of building many niche apparel brands that each focus on a specific category or serve a specific consumer segment may be one reason that its plus-size offering is somewhat limited and heavily skewed toward certain private labels. The company’s segmented approach is reflected in its large number of brands, range of price points and presence across clothing and footwear subcategories. This strategy implies that Amazon’s plus-size offering will not be evenly distributed across its own brands, but also suggests that the retailer is likely to build out its plus-size offering further. In our view, the underserved plus-size market is one segment where opportunities await Amazon.

Other pieces you may find interesting include: Amazon: The Sleeping Dragon in Private LabelAmazon Pay Places: Amazon’s Next Conquest Could Be Mobile PaymentsAmazon Announces a Record Third Annual Prime Day Amazon in 20 Charts—the Rise and Rise of the E-Commerce Giant Amazon to Acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 Billion in Cash

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