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Aussie maternity wear sector bucks general trend
Nov '13
The Maternity Wear Retailing industry has performed exceptionally well over the past five years, despite turbulent economic conditions. IBISWorld industry analyst Lauren Magner states, “Although general clothing retailers have suffered from weak consumer sentiment and subdued discretionary spending, the industry has benefited from strong demand for maternity wear from fashion-conscious consumers.” 
While in the past, women have been content with making alterations to their existing clothes or purchasing oversized clothing during their pregnancy, this has gradually changed as magazines and celebrity endorsements have encouraged consumers to purchase entirely new wardrobes of maternity wear.
In response to strong demand, there has been a significant influx in the number of retailers in the industry with new product lines being introduced frequently. As a result, industry revenue is expected to grow by an annualised 6.2% over the five years through 2013-14, to total $178.4 million.
Low discretionary income growth and weak consumer sentiment over the past five years have prompted many couples to postpone having a baby until the economy improves. This has resulted in slower growth in the number of births per year. Despite this, industry revenue has shown no signs of slowing down, with 4.9% growth forecasted for 2013-14.
 The reason for this is that those women who are choosing to have children are spending greater amounts on maternity clothing. According to Magner, “the increase in the number of females in the labour force has led to strong demand for fashionable and professional maternity clothing that is appropriate for the work environment.” 
A large proportion of industry retailers are online-only operators, and these players have benefited significantly from the rising popularity of online shopping. As it can often be difficult to visit multiple bricks-and-mortar stores during the last months of pregnancy, many women may prefer to purchase maternity wear online from the comfort and convenience of their home.
Over the next five years, industry enterprise growth is expected to continue to increase, although at a slower pace than the past five years. As more females pursue career goals and opportunities and stay in the workforce for longer during pregnancy, demand for work-appropriate maternity wear is expected to increase.
Market share concentration for the Maternity Wear Retailing industry is low. The industry is highly fragmented, with no player expected to control a significant portion of the market individually. Market share concentration has been declining over the past five years as more enterprises have entered the market and fragmented revenue. This trend is expected to continue over the next fiveyears. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Maternity Wear Retailing report in Australia industry page.


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