Belly chains, catsuits, haute couture. Rihanna has sparked a new wave of maternity dressing, proving personal style doesn't need to be sacrificed during pregnancy.
The internet going wild for Rih's bump-baring sartorial moments has inspired us to investigate the maternity space, analyzing market shifts across assortment, pricing and colors.
If you're anything like us at EDITED and can't get enough of the Bad Gal, check our recent podcast featuring someone on her team - Natalie Guzman, Co-President & CMO of Savage X Fenty shared her wisdom on Inside Retail!
Keep reading for insights into maternity wear and get in touch for a free demo to see our data in action.
The number of maternity products in stock has tripled in the US & UK YoY, with jeans and midi dresses contributing the most to this rise.
In both regions, maternity wear has a higher average full price compared to mainline collections across apparel categories.
Black maternity options have decreased by six percentage points (pp) YoY, while greens have popped into the top eight assorted colors at 8% of the total US & UK maternity market.
Rihanna’s pregnancy style breaks the mold of traditional maternity wear, fueling crop top arrivals by 1,084% YoY. While she's admitted several of her fits are custom, there is still an opportunity to invest in bump-accentuating styles outside basic sporty crop tops such as shrunken Y2K tees.
Though jeans have overtaken leggings as the most invested bottoms style for this customer, denim is not as directional, with skinny stretch jeans still reigning supreme. Blend comfort with fashionability and invest in looser silhouettes with elasticated waistlines to create less disparity between maternity and mainlines.
Market Insights in Four Charts
The number of maternity products has tripled in both regions YoY, mirroring a similar narrative across mainline assortments.
Despite retailers expanding all apparel collections, there has been a shift in which categories hold a higher significance across maternity wear this year.
The proportion of tops to the total maternity offering dipped 4pp, making room for more bottoms and dresses, up 3pp and 7pp, respectively. Midi, wrap and maxi were the subcategories retailers backed across dresses. Jeans and leggings continued to dominate bottoms, while shorts and skirts made up a higher portion YoY.
In both the US & UK, retailers are charging a higher price for maternity styles compared to mainline collections, mimicking last year. Outerwear had the largest jump in price from mainline styles to maternity versions in both regions and was the category with the highest price across apparel overall. Underwear and swimwear have remained the least expensive full price categories in both offerings for both regions.
Both regions have reduced the proportion of black maternity products YoY, with an overall dip of six percentage points. By minimizing black, retailers landed a greater percentage of greens – a color story that continues to trend in the mass market. Retailers injected green tones, from sage to Kelly green, mostly into dress collections. Blue and pink remained important with each proportion slightly growing YoY – these colors were also favored for dresses and tops. Impartial colors like neutrals, greys, whites and browns were also significant enough to be in the top eight assorted colors YoY.
Celebrity-Approved Trends to Promote
Call it the Rihanna effect. New maternity cropped tops arriving since the start of the year soared 1,084% YoY. Mainly driven by SHEIN, the majority are activewear styles like basic sports bras and ultra-feminine with off-the-shoulder details. Depending on these two trends, retailers are merchandising cropped tops with matching leggings, or fitted skirts over the bump, diverting from the belly-baring styling spearheaded by pregnant celebrities. However, Hatch is an exception in its imagery, showcasing shrunken baby tees paired with low-rise bottoms.
Though leggings remain a staple in maternity, retailers are banking on denim. From January 1st – April 10th, 2021, jeans made up 21% of new bottoms in this market. Compared to the same time this year, this subcategory jumped to 25%, outpacing new leggings, which dropped from 22% to 20% YoY. While Rihanna’s pregnancy is highly publicized with low-rise, baggy jeans, this silhouette is yet to translate to the mass market. Skinny and slim styles with stretch functionalities continue to dominate. Hip-hugging jeans may be impractical, but looser fits are an opportunity to update maternity wear with more directional denim styles.
The lucrative sexy dressing trend has extended to this category. Tops and dresses with mesh elements arriving new in have grown 208% year-to-date YoY, favored within boohoo’s maternity line. However, retailers’ application is more demure than mainline collections, focusing on sheer placement for sleeves and necklines rather than the belly area à la Kylie Jenner. Transparent materials are usually paired with other details complimenting the overarching trend, such as bodycon and ruching.
Following SKIMS introduction of maternity shapewear in 2020, compression garments that can provide lower back support and ease pain caused by swelling during pregnancy have become a category mainstay. Looking at new maternity underwear arrivals, shapewear has grown from 3% to 4% YoY of the overall assortment. There is also a market for shapewear to support post-partum mothers with gentle recovery. Ingrid + Isabel offers C-Section-friendly shapewear with cooling features and moisture control, alongside styles with easy access for nursing or pumping.
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