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Body inclusivity and diversity to be keys to brands’ future success


Body inclusivity and diversity to be keys to brands future success

Victoria’s Secret’s delay in embracing inclusivity and body positivity has proved to be a boon for other brands who have slowly made way to the top slot in the global lingerie market. In the past 10 years, Victoria’s Secret’s share in the global intimates market has halved from 30 per cent to 15 per cent, says Austin Moldow, Analyst, Canaccord. On the other hand, shares of its parent company L Brands have doubled and S&P has increased by 14.3 per cent for the year.

To regain lost market share, Victoria’s Secret has decided to break its association with Bath & Body Works and operate as a standalone brand. However, the journey ahead is quite challenging as other companies have already made their mark in the plus-size apparel market. Market intelligence platform Edited advises Victoria’s Secret to adopt body inclusivity to catch up on the race.

Plus size to reach $697 million by 2027

Analyst predict, fuelled by Gen Z companies and retailers seeking to embrace size-diverse fashion, the global plus-size apparel market is predicted to grow to $697 billion by 2027. With its separation from L Brands Inc, Victoria’s Secret will not only get new brand but its name too will be changed to Victoria’s Secret & Co. The company will also reorganize its panel to include soccer star Megan Rapinoe, author/actress/producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas, model and body-positive advocate Paloma Elsesser, and journalist and equality advocate Amanda de Cadenet.

A stronger competitor to Victoria’s Secret in the intimates market will be American Eagle Outfitters brand Aerie. The brand aims to reach $2 billion value in the next few years by focusing on leggings, swimwear, and other categories sold by Victoria’s Secret. A growing demand for its products is driving higher sales, margins and profitability for the parent company, says Michael Mathias, Chief Financial Officer, American Eagle.

Another brand on the rise is Gap Inc.’s brand Athleta. The brand expanded its sizes from 18 to 26 earlier this year and aims to include these sizes in 70 per cent of its collection by Spring.

As per the Edited report, though the plus-size market in the US is growing rapidly, it still faces certain challenges. Firstly, shoppers feel intimidated and alienated by ‘plus-size’ tag. Plus-sized items are also more expensive and often left out of trends. Brands and retailers need to address these issues to expand reach to these plus-size shoppers.

Nearly 25 per cent respondents to the NPD Group’s March 2021 Trend Tracker survey believe, brands and companies need to include diversification and inclusivity in their marketing and advertising initiatives. Around 20 per cent also believe inclusive and diverse representation is important among company leadership.

To be truly inclusive, brands need to adopt a common style trends across sizes, says the Edited report. Their unwillingness to adopt inclusivity and diversity may distort their image in the consumers’ mind besides threatening future profits.