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November 2016

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Survey says . . . bra and size chart data fun

Posted 01/11/2016 at 08:06 Comments

I wrote up the brands bit of our most recent survey a while back, but I think the graphs and barcharts bit is much more fun! And also more likely to start arguments, which might be slightly correlated with my idea of what counts as fun.

If you've followed KMD for a while, you'll know I start our big annual survey with some demographic questions, partly to check who is answering and partly to see if it maps against what we know or think about our customer base. For example, if we get 80% men answering, I know that the people giving us data are not our actual customers! That's why it's also important if you're doing surveys to check that your respondants are your customers - otherwise you could randomly end up with 1000 people asking for some unusual item or size, and if you base your business decisions on that, you can imagine it will go badly.

Age

Sometimes how I split up ages confuses people; I use decades, except under 30, which is split  into 18-25 and 25-30. That's because, whilst in theory all age groups are equal . . .  financially, we know that people under 25 aren't likely to be buying full price lingerie sets. And under 18's are usually only here to read about stats whilst looking at boobs. Sorry, under 18's!

As usual we have a left skewed age chart, with the bulk between 18-30. I should note that most brands do not have this many fans past their 40's.

Location

This is pretty standard for us, though in terms of orders I'd say we get slightly more from within Europe and less from the USA and Australia; welcome to what exchange rates, things taking from 1-6 weeks to arrive, customs people and import taxes do to sales.

The 'other' box was randomly full of people from Brazil this year (the image below is a text analysis by surveymonkey; bigger text means more people), which is perplexing; getting things to Brazil is a total nightmare! Kuwait, Korea and Singapore are also a bit unexpected. NZ and Canada - I apologise. I should really put you on the surveys separately.

Dress Sizes

This chart comes up year after year - pretty much a Gaussian distribution with a skew to the left. Now here's the problem; it's skewed to smaller sizes, but why? Is it because we mostly do smaller sizes so people are self-selecting and not hanging about if they are larger? Is it just that this is how it really is across the population? (we can't tell; big companies keep their data secret, the government records BMI, not size, small companies like us can't do a really serious stratified representative sample of the whole population). Or, since we know that youth and money are associated with being a lower BMI and even a different shape in the UK . . . . is it because you're more likely to follow a fashion brand if you're younger and can imagine ever having the cash to spend with them?

 

Bra Sizes

The most argued about set of numbers ever in the industry. Fun fact; in literally every survey we've ever done, about 70% of people fit into about 15-20 sizes. Now, according to the magic of Gaussian distributions, that makes sense, but even I am a bit surprised that would apply to anything as peculiar as bra sizes!

 

Bra size graphs get insanely long so I tried it as a pie chart (I usually disapprove of pie charts, they're a very poor way to represent most data, they confuse people). If you've been wondering why I keep dropping the 38 backs offof our manufacturing - I hope this makes it more obvious!

Here's what happens if we open up the choices on the bra size front - we get an almost unreadably long chart. Please note I ask "wear most often" rather than "what bra size are you" because YOU ARE NOT A SIZE. Sizes are arbitrary codes that only bear a loose relationship to what works for you. They are neither scientific nor magical.

Next time someone says "but (insert name of very small 1-2 person brand here) ONLY does 25 sizes! that's hardly any range at all", I'm going to point them at this chart, and then we're going to get into some serious maths. If you like sums and you're bored then you can play "how much money would it take me to set up a lingerie shop or a brand that would cover most sizes?" assuming a minimum cost of £10 per bra up to about £100.  

Any surprises? Any questions? Any data you'd be interested in next year?