The plus-size clothing market is expected to generate sales of £7.9bn by 2016 after rapid growth over the last five years.

Sales of plus-size womenswear are forecast to increase by 43% over the next five years to reach £5.7bn after rising by 47% in the five years to 2011, research by Mintel showed.

Menswear sales in the category rose 7% over the last five years – the same rate as the menswear market overall – to reach £1.9bn and are expected to rise by 13% to £2.2bn by 2016.

However many plus-size shoppers, especially women, say they have trouble finding clothes that fit or struggle to find fashionable styles in their size.

Mintel senior FMCG analyst Michelle Strutton said: “If retailers made shopping for clothing more straightforward by standardising their clothing sizes or, at the very least, displaying size guides in-store to help the selection process, it would promote higher levels of expenditure.”

Mintel Inspire principal trends analyst Richard Cope said: “Many plus-size consumers are hungry for more trend-led fashion options in larger sizes and this demand will continue to rise. It is no longer acceptable to marginalise and ignore this growing customer base.”