What Shirt Size are MOST People

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Ordering a batch of merchandise to sell or give-away to the public is a lot different than ordering specific shirts for specific people, like you would for a small-business.

This post is going to give you a great catch-all sizing breakdown, some tips on learning about your target market and some thoughts on how many mens/womens shirts to order in a typical order.

It's tempting to order a lazy split of Smalls, Mediums, Larges and XL's, but whether your goal is to make a clean and tidy profit from your merchandise or to ensure there's no left-overs from your give-away, you need your shirts to move relatively evenly.

WHAT SIZES TO ORDER WHEN YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT SIZES TO ORDER:

Straight to the worst-case-scenario, if research, demographics and past years data are something you don't have and can't get, we won't leave you without advice. Over all the years we've been doing this, one sizing split has stood the text of time - the golden ratio.

Great for bands, events and general merchandise, this break down is perfect when you simply don’t have enough information and need to place the order anyway. 

Events co-coordinators running massive world-wide concert tours that work with us swear by it and use it regularly.


10% S : 20% M : 30% L : 30% XL : 10% XXL


That ratio is great and will cover you in a pinch, but even with that in-hand, we stress that size breakdowns are very dependent on your audience and it pays to know them. Each audience is different.

A example of a specific niche would be a hunting apparel company we’ve worked with. Hunting apparel companies have customers who are physically big. It’s a stereotype sure, but to pretend it's not true is asking to have left-over Small sizes for years to come instead of Large's and XL's that turn-over fast.

There's no argument that this sizing breakdown is not typical in the rest of the population, but for a hunting company (and probably other demographics like Bikers or Football fans), it’s a balanced split and moves product evenly. With time, you'll learn this with your own audience through trial and error.

A sub-culture niche example: a good breakdown for a hunter demographic can be 10% M : 35% L : 35% XL : 15% XXL : 5% XXXL.

 

MEN SIZES VS. WOMEN SIZES

Aside from sizes, another important point to consider is the ratio of women's products to men's products.

Often we get people coming in with the idea to order in a 50%/50% split for Men and Women. Few people realize that most T-shirts (up to 70% of all T-shirts) are actually bought for men. Women have more options when it comes to clothing and, unless your audience is mainly women, men will usually wind up slightly ahead as your main customer.

It's also important to realize that a woman can wear a unisex men's shirt comfortably (and will do so if she likes the shirt and it’s her size). A man wearing a dainty women’s tee? Comedy gold, but not likely to happen.

Don’t get us wrong - we’re not advising against women's shirts, but it could be a smart move to include some overlap between unisex and women's only fits - even when targeting women only.

HANDS ON TRICK OF THE TRADE:

We’ve had bands in the past put up a facebook post with a mock-up of their new design and take pre-orders before they ever printed.

Once they had a good estimate of what sizes their fans wanted, they ordered what was pre-sold and doubled down on their original order ordering 100 more in sizes they were confident in. By going this route they created data they could use to predict what sizes their actual buyers were.

REMEMBER THESE POINTS TO MOVE INVENTORY FAST:
  1. Statistically Men wear more Tees than women.
  2. No two markets are the same in terms of sizing breakdowns.
  3. Do your homework. Find out who your customers are and their sizes. Get creative with it.
  4. Unisex shirts can be sold to men and women so don’t overinvest in women’s fits.
  5. When in doubt - 10% S : 20% M : 30% L : 30% XL : 10% XXL