While there is no evidence supporting the “COVID Baby Boom,” maternity wear is poised for growth as consumers look for products to wear throughout pregnancy and beyond without compromising on style.
According to Marketwatch, the maternity market is forecasted to reach $24.5 billion by 2025, which indicates an opportunity for non-specialist retailers to claim a stake in this category. By unlocking opportunities through the rise of comfort dressing, discover which categories and trends offer buy-in.
The current state of maternity wear
Q2 saw the US maternity market contract 38% YoY and 23% QoQ. The UK dropped 36% YoY and 55% QoQ. Despite the lack of investment, demand was still apparent with sell outs surging across both regions.
Arrivals categorized as maternity dropped 24% since July YoY. A notable shift in assortments shows greater prioritization of bottoms, with leggings the most invested style vs. jeans in 2019. With wellness and comfort underpinning 2020 trends, investment in sleepwear has grown from 5.4% of maternity wear to 8.5%.
The average woman experiences 31 size changes in her adult life, making it crucial to provide products that offer value for money, especially during the current economic fallout. With sustainability front of mind, there is demand for better-engineered “hackable” garments to grow with adults and avoid throwing out items that no longer fit.
Look to incorporating features like extra fabric allowance around the hips, detachable belts, adjustable waistlines and internal drawstrings. In the maternity space, French brand Tajinebanane stands out as a pioneer offering apparel to make breastfeeding easier with T-shirts and dresses with discreet side openings and thick materials to conceal milk leaks.
Consumers are not looking to forego their style and identity throughout pregnancy stages, creating the opportunity to back trends that can also be worn post-birth. The movement of pandemic-accelerated comfort dressing has led to many fall 2020 trends able to be adapted for this market without creating a standalone range so pregnant and postpartum consumers can shop the same looks as their peers.
Key callouts include elevated basics with a focus on longer-length tops, monochromatic and tonal hues, soft fabrics like fleece and cashmere, chuck on dresses and relaxed suiting. Trend-lead details like oversized collars are an easy addition to modernize maternity tops and dresses.
There is no supporting evidence to back up the so-called impending wave of “coronababies” as couples spend more time together in lockdown, with a “baby bust” forecasted across the US and Europe due to economic uncertainty. However, there’s no denying the amount of new celebrity moms and expecting influencers in a more stable financial position who are documenting their journeys across social media.
From Chrissy Teigen to Gigi Hadid, newsfeeds are ripe with high-end pregnancy styling to serve as inspiration for retailers wanting to emulate trends to their consumers.
Following the rise of at-home workouts and the highly publicized upcoming launch of Nike M maternity sportswear, interest in activewear designed for pregnancy has piqued. The number of online styles in the US has increased by 58% compared to five years ago, yet the overall market remains relatively untapped. Maternity products only make up 0.5% of the total activewear market available in the US over the past three months making the timing ideal for investment.
What to promote: durable materials • four-way stretch • compression styles • high-waist leggings • seamless construction • cycling shorts • adjustable straps • support bands • mesh panels • moisture-wicking properties • jersey and rib knit • ruching or side-seam gatherings
Oversized and cozy trends complement the maternity market as many core items within the loungewear assortment lend themselves to pregnancy and postpartum dressing. Fall 2020 will see loungewear elevate to a more smart casual look with boyfriend dressing, seamless styles, ribbed knits, and bodysuits – all essentials that can be repackaged as maternity wear.
What to promote: drawstring joggers • oversized shirts • jumpsuits/bodysuits • longline cardigans • wide-leg trousers • paperbag waists • chuck on dresses • knitted co-ords • hoodies • pajama dressing • tracksuits • luxe fabrics
World Breastfeeding Week, which is celebrated each year in August’s first week, shined a spotlight on intimate apparel serving this consumer. Retailers including ThirdLove, True&Co and Pour Moi took to Instagram to raise awareness for the event and promote their nursing bras. With consumers working to normalize breastfeeding, bookmark this event to promote in 2021.
Recently, Kim Kardashian West’s Skims made headlines for its upcoming Maternity Solutionwear collection. Many were quick to assume the line was designed to hide and slim pregnant women, causing West to defend the products, addressing they provide lower back support and compression to ease pain caused by swelling.
What to promote: high-waist briefs • wireless bras • soft cup styles • bodysuits • adjustable straps • seamless garments • silk • clip fastenings • triangle bras • bralettes • removable padding • leak resistant properties
With more time spent at home and loungewear’s trajectory, denim assortments have struggled. However, stretch denim – essential for all maternity edits – has remained relevant with styles selling out since March up 21% YoY. As loungewear evolves to include dressier elements and consumers yearn to head outdoors, interest in denim will be revived with comfort remaining a core factor. The 70s have been hailed as the standout era for fall 2020 denim inspiration, ideal to spotlight pregnancy-friendly shapes as listed below.
What to promote: dungarees/overalls • elasticated waists • stretch denim • boilersuits • paperbag waists • jeggings • stretch panels • wide-leg silhouettes • fake front pockets • oversized shirts • pinafores
Trends of note
Office attire meets athleisure. Look to unstructured blazers, oversized shirts and chuck on dresses in smart and casual fabrics to cater to the WFH mom.
Space-occupying shapes are favored by expecting influencers. Promote midi and maxi house dresses with elasticated features and exaggerated sleeves.
Rooted in wellness and self-care, bathleisure is an ideal trend for moms and moms-to-be and can be achieved through pajamas, bathrobes and luxurious materials.
Designers paid homage to cottagecore on the recent Pre-Spring 2021 runways, securing the longevity of floaty dresses, dungarees and embroidery.
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