In the world of undergarments, shapewear is far from new. Technically speaking, clothing used to create or maintain a specific silhouette has been popular for centuries. But while the desire to create a certain figure has maintained its appeal, we’ve come a long way from the days of whalebone corsets. 

In fact, over the past few years, the shapewear industry has seen an upsurge in interest, with companies such as the Kardashian-led Skims bursting onto the scene. So who is purchasing shapewear and where are they coming from? 

As the data show, 15% of U.S. women aged 18 and up currently own and like shapewear. Among this demographic, those aged 35 to 54 are the most favorable.

More Money, More Shapewear 

Take a look at income and you’ll see that while the highest earning U.S. women are the most likely to already own and enjoy shapewear, the lowest earning U.S. women are the most likely to plan on buying some.

Following this higher income thread, it comes as no surprise that those most favorable towards body contouring garments are more likely to be working as usual or more as a result of the pandemic. Among shapewear intenders, we observe the highest percentage of remote workers, which is interesting considering they aren’t venturing out as often compared to those who go into a physical workplace. Shapewear favorables are the most likely to be professionals and managers, while intenders are highly likely to work in operations and sales.

It’s also worth noting that those who plan to buy shapewear also have the most self-reported difficulty controlling their spending–suggesting they may be easily swayed when making a purchase. We’ll dive into that later.  

Does Shapewear Lead to Happiness?

Of course, shapewear isn’t just a financial purchase–it’s one that may be linked to other topics, such as an individual’s relationship to fitness, wellbeing, and self-image. 

As it turns out, those who like shapewear the most tend to be those who enjoy health and fitness activities, but don’t consider themselves passionate about it. Those who don’t like it, on the other hand, are more likely to be fitness enthusiasts. The same is shown among shapewear intenders, however.

Interestingly, those who plan on buying shapewear exercise the most. So while interest is high amongst frequent exercisers, the above data suggests that the final approval may vary. 

Fitness aside, those who like shapewear are the happiest of those who know about the garments, suggesting a link between looking good and feeling good. It’s worth noting that those unfamiliar with shapewear are just as happy as those who have and like it. Also interesting that those who intend to buy it are the least happy, suggesting maybe they are unhappy with their body image and looking for solutions.

Fashion (and Social Media) Followers Fall for Shapewear 

Although shapewear may not be the most visible article of clothing, fashion is still a priority in its design. After all, those who are the most impacted by fashion trends are also the most favorable towards these garments.

In particular, shapewear appeals to fashion followers whose purchases are the most influenced by their friends and contacts on social media. It’s also a hit with those who spend 2 or more hours a day on the platforms.  

Perhaps the most interesting correlation: one look at the TikTok and Instagram data and it’s clear that those who intend to buy shapewear are the most likely to use both of these apps. 

So while shapewear is far from new, it seems this current revival may be thanks (in part) to the impact of social media on potential shapewear consumers who are eager to spend and easily influenced.