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Weight loss drugs boost small size demand in NYC

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weight loss drugs
Weight loss drug prescriptions in New York City are most prevalent in Manhattan's Upper East Side.

The rise of weight loss drugs is having an impact on apparel retailers, according to new data.

Impact Analytics, an AI-based retail planning and forecasting company, found that due to the popularity of GLP-1 diabetes drugs including Ozempic, Munjaro and Wegovy for weight loss, size small has become the most popular size for women on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

In the neighborhood, compared to 2022, sales of women’s button-down shirts in small sizes (XXS, XS, and S) have increased in 2024 by 12%, while sales of large sizes (XXL, XL, and L) have decreased by nearly 11% (10.9%). In 2022, sales of women’s button-down shirts in size small (S) were 25% of sales, and have increased to 31% of sales so far this year. Impact Analytics says the findings have implications for higher-end clothing retailers that primarily serve women over the age of 30 in urban areas.

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“The slimming down of America will have an enormous impact on retailers and could cost them approximately $20 million each year due to incorrect size curves. These losses will only accelerate as more people take GLP-1 drugs for weight loss,” said Prashant Agrawal, founder and CEO at Impact Analytics. “Retailers generally make buying decisions for upcoming seasons at least six months in advance, and if this impact to the curve isn’t addressed, it will have ramifications on retail sales that will extend well into the holiday season and beyond.”

New York City is not only the fashion capital of the United States, but it is also the epicenter for GLP-1 drug usage. According to Trilliant Health, nearly 44% of the city’s GLP-1 prescriptions go to New Yorkers who do not have a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. The demographic for these drugs skews younger and nearly 75% are female. 

“Most retailers have clung to the same size curves for years despite evidence suggesting their inaccuracy,” said Agrawal. “The impact of that will continue to erode retailer margin integrity unless immediate action is taken to update them.”

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