Majority of consumer dollars are spent on intimates in Q3, but plus sizes peak in Q1
TORONTO, February 6, 2013 – Lingerie retailers have curvaceous women to thank for their Q1 sales boost, as plus-size merchandise has a history of driving dollars in the women’s intimates category at the beginning of the year. According to global information company The NPD Group, plus sizes have held their own in dollars since 2011 (while regulars sizes declined), having experienced 20 per cent sales and 15 per cent unit boosts in Q1 of last year – just in time for Valentine’s Day.
While the majority of consumer dollars are spent on intimates in Q3, shoppers in the market for plus-size lingerie spend more money in Q1 and Q2. In 2012, this time period accounted for 51 per cent of total annual sales and compared to 44 per cent of regular-size lingerie sales for women. Further, plus-size intimates drew in approximately $10 million dollars in additional sales revenue in Q1 of last year.
“Plus-size women often express that the availability of undergarments that fit well is limited, so it’s a challenge to find items that they’re excited to bring home,” said Tracey Jarosz, executive director for Canada Fashion at The NPD Group. “Given this, there’s a certain sense of urgency to get items while they’re hot and this is often at the beginning of the year when retailers showcase what’s new for the season.”
Regular-size intimates typically hit their stride in Q3 and Q4, with 56 per cent of total sales taking place during the back-to-school and holiday shopping booms. However, while regular sizes accounted for 64 per cent of sales in 2012, they have declined both in dollars and in unit sales year over year.
Despite a challenging year of sales, more than half of women’s intimates were purchased at specialty stores across Canada in 2012. This retail channel has gained both in dollar and in unit importance, generating $514 million dollars last year alone. Mass channels like department stores, however, have not seen this level of success.
“Though mass channels have the advantage of carrying a number of expansive product lines, what they’re missing is the personal touch that specialty stores are known for,” continued Jarosz. “When shoppers find it difficult to determine the correct sizing, it’s the in-store expertise and individual attention that becomes most appealing to female consumers.”
Driving the growth in plus-size intimates are women’s bras, which have increased in sales by three per cent and in units by four per cent since 2012. Today, plus size lingerie accounts for 29 per cent of total intimate sales.
The NPD Consumer Tracker Rolling 12 months ending December 2012 – 3 year trend. NPD maintains an online panel of nearly 100,000 consumers that tell us about their shopping habits.