October 17, 2012: Plus-Size Costumes

Just last week I wrote for American Express OPENForum about how small business owners can take advantage of America’s increasing struggle with obesity (a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 35.7 percent of American adults and 16.9 percent of children age 2 to 19 are considered obese). And then serendipitously the good folks at Alibaba.com, the world’s largest online marketplace, shared some brand new data with me.

With Halloween right around the corner, searches for plus-size costumes will likely be up this year (final numbers are not yet in), and unfortunately, America leads the way. In fact, 87 percent of worldwide Internet searches for plus-size costumes come from the top 10 markets: the U.S. the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China, India, Italy, France, Russia and Germany-and America accounts for about 60 percent of those searches.

I’ve addressed other plus-sized opportunities in past Trendcasts (men and brides), so this data is really not all that surprising. While it’s likely you’re not selling Halloween costumes, this data just reinforces the desire overweight people have to be like everyone else. Think of other ways you can cater to that need. One idea is accessories sized for larger frames. It can be difficult for a plus-size woman to find trendy (and inexpensive) chokers, bracelets and rings that fit properly.

And it’s not just the obese who want in on the action. Alibaba.com reports that 82 percent of all global searches for maternity Halloween costumes came from the United States-more than four times the requests from the rest of the world combined. Pregnant women often suffer from swollen hands and feet, also making plus-size accessories attractive to this market.

This Trendcast is more food for thought than prediction. So I have one extra tidbit to share. Americans may be over their obsession with vampires-and starting to fall in love with wolves instead (Twilight fans would interpret that as moving from Team Edward to Team Jacob). If Alibaba.com’s statistics are any indication, 2013 could be the year of the wolf-check out the chart for costume requests this year:


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