Diversity, comfort and active lifestyles are among the macro shifts shaping the $47 million U.S. swimwear market, according to a new report by retail analytics firm Edited.
When it comes to swimwear, one size does not fit all. Mass market retailers are trying to ease sizing woes by adding more fits to their assortment. In the U.S. and U.K., Edited said retailers are growing their selection of petite swimwear by 15 percent and plus size swimwear by 31 percent year-over-year.
However, retailers are neglecting the tall segment.
“This flags opportunity for brands to cater to this body type—especially for one-pieces. A taller customer would need a swimsuit with a longer body length than the average height,” Edited wrote.
Like the sun, surf and sand, bikinis spring eternal. New shipments of two-pieces, which Edited said made up the majority of swimwear assortments in 2018, is poised to grow 11 percent during Q1 2019. Luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter believes in the summer staple, increasing its bikini assortment by 24 percent.
However, the summer staple is proving to be more popular in the U.K., where Edited said the number of bikinis on the sales floor will increase 22 percent year-over-year. Bandeau tops, in particular, are gaining momentum as consumers look for more coverage.
One track mind
In the U.S., one-pieces are stirring the most excitement at retail. As consumers grow accustomed to the comfort and functionality of active wear, Edited sees U.S. retailers increasing their Q1 inventory of one-pieces by 23 percent.
Mass market retailers are getting behind the trend in a big way. Edited reported that both Fashion Nova and Target introduced 191 new one-piece swimsuits in the past month. Kohl’s added 228 one-pieces.
Consumers are also paying closer attention to active swimwear. Edited’s data shows that the number of athletic-inspired styles increased 25 percent during Q1.
That’s not to say that consumers have tossed fashion out the window in favor of comfort.
Tropical floral prints and animal prints are among the most popular arrivals at retailers like Target and PrettyLittleThing, according to Edited. Leopard is the most “influential pattern,” while snake is proving to have some bite in the mass market tier.
And millennials’ love for color lives on in swim.
Edited said the U.S. market is gravitating toward lighter blues, shades of pink and pops of neon yellow and green—especially for bikinis and men’s short swim trunks.