Seven years after launching its plus-size womenswear range Curve, Asos is now among the first young fashion retailers to tap into growing demand for trend-led menswear in larger sizes as rates of obesity among young men rise sharply.

Younger men more likely to be overweight or obese

Research from the 2015 National Health Survey for England highlights that men in England are ten-percentage points more likely to be overweight or obese than women, with 68% of men falling into this category compared with 58% of women. While rates of overweight and obese women have stayed static since 2014, they have risen by three-percentage points among men.

The biggest rise in overweight or obesity rates has come from young men, with 40% of men aged 16-24 classified as overweight or obese in 2015, up from 31% in 2014. Rates of obesity peak among men aged 35 and over, with 71% of males aged 35-44 classified as overweight or obese, compared with 59% of women in this age group.

Asos enters plus-size menswear market

Asos currently has nearly 400 styles in sizes from XL to XXXXL. It stocks plus-size clothes from its own-label as well as from specialist plus-size brands including Duke and other brands such as Burton, Levis, Polo Ralph Lauren and Wrangler. Asos has also launched a separate offer for tall men described as 6-foot-3 or taller.

Plus-size items include trend-led pieces such as bomber jackets, skinny jeans and printed t-shirts. Asos has tried to ensure that the plus-size offer has a similar look and feel to the rest of its ranges. It has also used models of all ethnicities and sizes to showcase the clothes on its website so shoppers can see how the items would look on ‘real people’.

Demand for more plus sizes

Research in Mintel’s forthcoming Menswear – UK, March 2017 report finds that 13% of male shoppers would like the retailers they usually shop at to sell more plus sizes. Furthermore, almost one fifth of men are interested in their preferred retailers selling better fitting garments that flatter their shape. Online-only retailers are the types of retailers men most closely associate with catering for different body shapes and sizes, while this drops significantly among designer brands.

What we think

While the high street has woken up to demand for plus-size womenswear, with most retailers now offering larger sizes, it has been slow to do the same for menswear. There is currently a gap in the market for more young fashion retailers to sell trend-led plus-sized menswear. Given that men of all ages are becoming more interested in their appearance, there is a real opportunity for more mainstream retailers to focus on providing stylish clothing for men of all sizes.

Tamara Sender is Senior Fashion Analyst at Mintel. She researches and writes Mintel’s reports on all aspects of the UK clothing market. Before joining Mintel in 2010, Tamara worked as a news reporter at William Reed Business Media with particular emphasis on retail and leisure markets. As a multi-lingual journalist, Tamara has written for several national and international titles in both the UK and Latin America.

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