When it comes to swimwear, it seems as if you can never have too many bikinis in your closet. With countless styles and patterns, the swimwear industry has made it addicting to want to buy multiple bikinis every season.
In a recent survey conducted by TheBetterFit.com of 421 women, 47.86% of women favor high waisted bikini bottoms when given the option between 13 various types of swimsuit bottoms.
When picking between 14 different swim tops, string bikini tops made the top of the list with 33.77% of women selecting it as their favorite.
According to Statista.com, the United States’ swimwear market is the top leading market in the world. Additionally, in 2018, the revenue within the swimwear and sports market in the U.S. was $46.2 billion (and it’s projected to grow in the next 5 years).
With the continuous increase this market is projected to have, we conducted research to learn which bikini styles are preferred.
High Waisted Bikini Popularity
When looking at the results from the swimsuit bottoms poll, what makes this data interesting is that women were given 13 different bottoms to choose from. Almost half of the votes went to high waisted bottoms. It’s staggering to see that 47.86% of people chose one specific option (high waisted) as their favorite.
To put it into perspective, the runner up choice was the high cut bikini bottom, which only gained 12.84% of votes. While these two styles might sound similar, they have some key differences. High waisted bottoms provide fuller coverage of your hips and stomach. High-cut bottoms typically have a “V” shaped silhouette and are designed to sit above your hips entirely to elongate the look of your legs.
Starting in 2019, high cut bikinis started making a comeback (it was a popular trend in the 80s); however, from our survey, results show that high waisted is still by far the favorite.
In comparing the two bikini bottoms on Google Trends and the search behaviors over the last 6 summers (going back to June 2015), searches for the high rise style far outweighed the searches for high cut bikinis.
Additionally, according to Ahrefs data, the phrase “high waisted bikini” is searched an average of 21,000 times per month. In reviewing the data from the past 5 years, we see that search volume spikes higher than 21,000 for the keyword phrase in the summer months.
Search Trend History
In the last 5 years, both Google Trends and Ahrefs show that June 2017 is when the term “high waisted bikini” got searched the most (66,000 times according to Ahrefs). This is more than any other type of bikini.
What’s interesting is that the following year, in June 2018, there was a 53.03% decrease in searches for “high waisted bikini.” In diving into this decrease more, searches for other popular bikinis also declined in 2018, along with the generic term “bikini.”
Effects of Instagram
This might be due to the increase in popularity to use Instagram as a tool to shop for swimwear, rather than going to Google. By the summer of 2018, Instagram had hit 1 billion users.
Companies such as Aerie reported that their swimsuit sales doubled in the last 2 years, and the sales that organically came from Instagram increased 168% year-over-year (from 2017 to 2018).
With the ease of being able to see numerous photos of women in swimwear on Instagram and then instantly shopping the look, it could be a contributing factor that reduced the need to navigate over and type anything into a search engine.
High Waisted Vs. String Bikini Searches
After the decline in 2018, searches for “high waisted bikini” have been steadily rising again. As of June 2020, Ahrefs reported that people searched for the “high waisted bikini” 54,000 times that month. “String bikini” is the next most searched bikini, but in comparison, in June 2020 it was only searched 37,000 times.
Based on the data from Ahrefs and Google Trends, it becomes more apparent why over 47% of women who took our survey selected high waisted bottoms as their favorite.
String Bikini Tops Popularity
When it comes to swimsuit tops, 33.77% of women favor string bikini tops compared to 13 other styles of tops in our survey. The bandeau top was the second most popular option, with 14.94% of the votes going towards this design.
This resulted in string bikini tops being 126% more popular than bandeau bikinis. With there being 14 different bikini tops to select from, it’s shocking to see almost 50% of the votes going to 2 options.
History of String Bikinis
String bikinis have been around for over 70 years; however, they didn’t immediately start out being popular. In 1946, the first bikini was designed by Louis Reard, and it was a string bikini.
Reard claimed that for something to be considered a bikini, it needed to be small enough to fit through a wedding ring. At the time, this was too risqué for women, and over the coming years, more modest designs were created.
During the 60s, swimwear began to get skimpier, and in 1974, string bikinis were reintroduced and started their uphill trend in popularity.
Today, we’re seeing the power and influence that celebrities have with the string bikini trend as well.
In January 2019, Mariah Carey sported a sparkly lavender string bikini on Instagram. The search term “Mariah Carey string bikini” instantly started trending. According to Ahrefs.com, “Mariah Carey string bikini” still receives an average of 300 searches per month, even though her iconic Instagram post nearing 2 years old.
In March of 2019, Jennifer Lopez posted an Instagram photo of herself in a hot pink string bikini top and hit cut bottoms. Within 48 hours of her posting, people began searching for “pink bikini” online, trying to find JLO’s exact swimsuit. Searches spiked for the term “pink bikini” by 84% because of a single post done by her.
Retailer Predictions with Bikini Tops
Going into the Spring of 2020, retailers predicted that string bikini tops would be the most popular swim tops sold.
Between January – March 2020, 43% of the new swimsuit arrivals in retail stores in the U.S. were string (or triangle) tops. Following this, bandeau bikini tops made up 31% of retailer selections.
These retailer trends also align with the results from our survey, where string and bandeau tops were the 2 most favorited swim tops.
What’s Next for Bikini Tops and Bottoms?
Styles for bikinis come and go. Yet, certain aspects that can influence their longevity and popularity. Rapid changes in fashion trends, an increase in consumer disposable income, comfort, type of activity, and personal fashion sense all affect the purchasing of different kinds of bikini tops and bottoms.
Likewise, due to the rise in brand technologies and product innovations, the market anticipates an annual growth rate of 6.3% for women to value convenient bikini styles and cuts over trends.
With the global swimwear market expected to hit $28.7 billion by 2025, key trends that drive demand for bikinis include the desire to look stylish, the rise of asymmetric designs, and bold colors. Plus, you can never have too many swimsuits, right?