Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete my recent Australian Plus Size Survey 2016, I very much appreciate the effort, I know it took many of you over 30 mins to complete the survey, but I want you to know how very important this data is.
I consult and work with many businesses within our Industry, just in the last week alone I’ve met with key people in business from Kmart Australia to small start-ups to mid-size retailers consulting on all things plus-size. With over eight years solid professional experience in this Industry, and being a customer myself personally, I have a lot to offer – but nothing adds value more than your voice. YOU are the customer these businesses are wanting to appeal to, to please, to engage.
According to recent ABS data, the average Australian woman weighs 71.1kg and is a size 14-16.
I ran the first Australian Plus-size Survey in 2010 – but this year some of the questions were changed slightly (I have refined the questions over the years), but essentially the surveys were the same. I also conducted surveys in 2012 and 2015. Below I have quoted data from 2010 and 2016 surveys.
So what does the survey data show?
Of the women surveyed in 2016, 84.4% were size 18-26, 15.5% were size 14-16 and 1.65% were size 28-32. The data was almost to the dot exactly the same in the 2010 survey.
Bra cup size shows that 60.22% of women surveyed in 2016 have an A-D cup size, with 44.62 percent being a D cup. E cup is the next biggest percentage coming in at 23.12 and the largest cup size being polled was a K cup.
The questions relating to dress size show clearly that there is a difference between top size and bottom size and that this makes shopping difficult for those with a body size that differs from top to bottom. Whilst I don’t like referring to our bodies with fruit names, these are quite identifiable terms to get an indication of body shapes. “Apple”(24.35%), “Hour glass”(33.04%) and “Pear” (29.57%) shape all came in significantly the highest of the seven options given with 3.48% identifying as “other”.
I always feel sad when I hear how women of all shapes and sizes feel about their bodies. Body confidence doesn’t discriminate and is a problem for every sized woman. The data clearly shows Face (54.87%) & Breasts (25.66%) and legs still up there at 16.81% as the most favourite part of the polled women’s bodies. This data did differ from the 2010 data where Face came in at 55.77%, Breasts at 43.27% and legs only 3.85%. In the least favourite part of your body question, Tummy was the clear winner with 65.09% of women hating on their tummies – slightly up from 58.20% in 2010.
In Question 12 I asked about preferred terminology when it comes to describing our size. Interestingly 40.32% (down from 56.73% in 2010) of women preferred the term “Curvy” versus only 15.57% of women preferring “Plus-size”. Other terms that rate on the “prefer” scale were “Full-figured” at 12.30% and “Voluptuous” at 14.17%. Only 3.28% preferred the term “Fat” whereas 19.67% deemed the term “Fat” as Unacceptable and 49.18% deemed “Fat” as insulting.
Question 14 – How would you rate your body image? returned results of only 12.73% of women feeling “100% confident in myself and how I present” – well down from the 22.34% of women who responded in 2010. 17.48% of women responded that they have “no confidence in myself” well up from the 2010 result of 10.59%.
For over 63.64% (up from 54.95% in 2010) of us it is an “Up and Down – struggle with my confidence on a regular basis”.
Question 16 indicates 56.10% of women polled “have discovered their own personal style” and only 12.9% have ever had a styling session to learn more about what looks good on them – (you know I can help – book a session with me now!). The question asking “Do you follow current fashion trends?” returned a 45.97% response that indeed just under half like to follow trends, whilst the others are not feeling pressured to.
“What women’s magazines do you read/buy/subscribe to?” revealed that 68.14% (a massive rise from 41.18% in 2010) of those surveyed do not purchase women’s magazines. The Woman’s Weekly was the highest ranking magazine purchased with 11.50% and Frankie Magazine with the next highest percentage of 5.31%. No surprises there – as most magazines seldom feature topics or images that engage a curvy customer.
Social media is the most preferred way to discover products and services catered to curvy women with 80.99% of respondents preferring this method with customer reviews (eg. Yelp, Amazon or brand website’s) being helpful in making purchases.
Take note retailers – a whopping 80.00% of respondents prefer to shop in-store for clothing, with Australian online retailers coming in at over 50% versus overseas online retailers. Only 2.59% of women shop in-store with someone who is also plus-size (take note again retailers), 25.86% shop alone and 31.03% only sometimes shop with someone.
If there was a store that was completely dedicated to plus-size Australian designer fashion with clothing, accessories and services available exclusively in size 14+ 44.83% of respondents say they are 100% likely to shop there, with 35.34% Highly Likely and only 6% Unlikely! Obviously it was no surprise then to see that 95.69% of respondents find it frustrating to visit a large shopping mall (or DF) where there are usually only 2-3 choices of stores stocking 16+.
Autograph beat City Chic as the top destination store to visit for in-store shopping, followed closely behind by Target – an interesting response given the lack of curvy options in-store at present – take note Target!! Best & Less, Big W and Kmart followed closely behind with the largest percentage.
Change-rooms are important too with 76.32% saying that the size is important to their shopping experience, as is curtains that close properly and mirrors that accurately reflect your image, good lighting and customer service – although interestingly customer service came in well under the other items as only 18.97% of importance.
38.79% of respondents try on clothing prior to purchase with only 6.03% never trying clothing on in-store and 39.66% at least 75% percent of the time trying on prior to purchase. Of the 6.03% who never try on clothing the reasons given include 22.73% feeling uncomfortable trying on clothing in-store, 18.18% not wanting to be bothered by the customer service assistant and 36.36% stating they already know their size and thus do not need to try garments on.
Having said that, it’s interesting to note that with the question “Do you have clothes in your wardrobe that you don’t wear? What is the reason?” 100% said yes and the reason’s stated for this varied between too big, too small, doesn’t suit, I’m hoping to lose weight or I’m saving it until it comes back into fashion.
In 2010 the results were almost the same as 2016 – more than 70% of the respondents believe the price of plus-size garments are overpriced or expensive.
Question 32 asks “What do you think about the choice of plus-size garments on offer in Australia?” 54.31% responded “Average”, 0.86% (even worse in 2010 with 0.95%)answered “I can always find what I’m after” and 23.28% (down from 2010 with 31.43%) answered “Poor – it’s a struggle to find garments for my body shape”.
When answering “When shopping in-store, if the retail assistant is not plus-size, does this affect your shopping experience?” 42.86% answered yes! and 57.14% answered no.
94.69% of you want to see garments presented in a catalogue or online on a real person rather than 9.73% on a mannequin or flat-layed (0.88%) with many respondents excited about the possibility of video footage – 3D to view garments on a real body.
When presenting this data, quotes and comments from my social media threads or survey answers (reported anonymously) I am always fascinated to see the reaction of the person I pitch it to. Without fail this data adds significant value to my own experienced voice, and the message never fails to hit the target – making a shift – albeit often in small baby steps – to a bigger, better and more deserving offering for curvy customers.
Thanks again for your valuable input and voice.
Love your shape!
IMPORTANT NOTE: This information has been prepared in good faith on the basis of information available at the date of publication without any independent verification. Janine Mison does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy, reliability, completeness or currency of the information in this publication nor its usefulness in achieving any purpose. Readers are responsible for assessing the relevance and accuracy of the content of this publication. Janine Mison will not be liable for any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred or arising by reason of any person using or relying on information in this publication. Products or Brands may be identified by proprietary or trade names tohelp readers identify particular types of products but this is not, and is not intended to be, an endorsement or recommendation of any product or manufacturer referred to. Other products may perform as well or better than those specifically referred to. This publication is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced in any form without written permission from Janine Mison. The subject matter in this report may have been revisited or may have been wholly or partially superseded in subsequent work.