Niche markets see growth Online in 2014

Industry News

In the world of brick-and-mortar retail, having a niche retail store is a challenge. Brick-and-mortar retailers often rely on the consumers of the local markets to be successful. A niche retailer relies on a segment of the local market to make a living.

Fortunately, online retail has helped niche retailers crack the niche market wide open. Anyone from anywhere can buy niche products online, provided the shopper can find the retailer online and the retailer will ship to that location. As such, the retail landscape has seen a dramatic uptick in the number of retailers selling niche products.

Plus-size clothing- a fast-growing niche market

For example, market research firm NPD Group found that the plus-size clothing niche market has grown substantially over the past few years. In just the past 12 months, revenue from plus-size apparel products has grown by more than $1 billion, hitting $17.5 billion for the fiscal year ending in April.

“Retailers and designers are now viewing [plus-size clothing] as a growth opportunity, and today there are indeed more plus-sized choices in stores.”

This niche market lines up well with the millennial audience, who already have a propensity for online shopping. According to NPD, sales of plus-size apparel grew 23 percent year-over-year in 2014 among the 18 to 24-year-old age bracket, illustrating the quick growth of the segment.

“The plus-sized market segment is seeing light at the end of the tunnel after being hit particularly hard by the recession,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with The NPD Group. “With that, retailers and designers are now viewing this area as a growth opportunity, and today there are indeed more plus-sized choices in stores.”

Stocking niche goods and selling them to customers

Plus-size clothing is only one niche market example, there are numerous others ranging from rare electronics to baby care specialty items.Whether merchants want to add niche products to their existing offerings or are looking to start their own shop to solely sell niche products, it might be rewarding to consider entering the online niche market.

Product management systems can help retailers effectively sell niche products across a wide range of online sales channels, increasing what was thought to be a small market into a substantial one and helping consumers to find these retailers more easily. 

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