With temperatures warming up, swimwear season is well underway. So are Americans suiting up for a dip in the ocean or a plunge into the pool?
As new CivicScience data from June of 2022 show, 33% of U.S. adults report they generally buy swimwear once a year or more, and the majority of buyers usually spend less than $50.
Not to rain on anyone’s pool party, but are inflation and concerns about the economy impacting swimwear buying? Not severely. Amid rising prices on pretty much every category of consumer goods, it looks like generally, the swimsuit category is not necessarily impacted at large, as 25% of people who usually buy swimwear say they’ve already bought swimwear or plan to this year, which is not far from the percentage of people who say they usually buy swimsuits annually. A swimsuit status-quo, so to speak.
While this may be the case, the majority of Americans consider themselves to be more price sensitive right now. This is a growing figure that has grown to 57% of Americans (n=5,150) reporting they are more price sensitive.
When it comes to swimwear, this is still true, but (somewhat) good news for swimwear brands: swimsuit purchasers and those who aren’t sure if they will purchase one this year or not under-index the Gen Pop a bit when it comes to being more price sensitive. However, a good portion still report they’re price sensitive, and brands should take note.
To further round out the data, we see that adults aged 18-24 are most likely to report they generally buy swimwear once a year or more. This is not surprising given the above data, as CivicScience data show that younger adults are less price-sensitive than older generations right now by a good stretch. Similarly, those in the lowest income bracket are also more likely to say they generally purchase swimwear more frequently, likely a proxy for age.
While, at large, rising price concern may not be heavily impacting the category, keeping swimsuit buying status quo this year, there is other data showing that income plays a role. Young, lower earners are the most likely to say they will buy swimwear every year, but this year higher earners are more likely to actually purchase it, likely because they’re being hit harder by inflation and prices.
Perhaps some of the uncertainty stems from the fact that brand is a priority for those who haven’t yet purchased. In addition to rising prices across the board, some consumers still may be put off by higher brand-name prices right now or just have different priorities.
There are, of course, travel plans to keep in mind. Those who have already purchased or plan to purchase a swimsuit this year are the most likely to report upcoming airplane travel. So it seems that impending travel may be the biggest factor prompting new swimwear purchases this year. Also notable though is those who aren’t sure if they will purchase swimwear this year are the most likely to travel out of the entire sample, meaning they may be spending more on travel itself than gear to pack in their suitcase.
Swimsuits are making a splash this season, as Americans–especially younger adults–flock to snatch up new suits. And while many may be making purchases ahead of a vacation, whether the excitement over swimsuit purchases will continue past peak summertime–and into recession territory–is yet to be seen.