This annual article is based on our 2021 swimwear survey results paired with US sales trends over the past year. We had an incredible 21,209 respondents to our survey this year, which is an all time high.
Overview- 2021 Swimwear Trends
Well 2020 is on its way out and 2021 is on its way in. 2020 represented a year when travel was cut short, the general population was locked down and frustrations were high. Interestingly when spring crept up, swimwear sales were crazy and there was an obvious swing in the desired trends most likely driven by beach, cottage and boat worshippers desperate to get out for some fun in the sun.
Over the past few years, the cheeky bikinis, thongs and g-strings have seen a massive increase in popularity partnered with the trend for curvier women, but the lockdown has amplified this trend.
Even woman that would wear a moderate one-piece swimsuit are now looking for higher thighs and plunging necklines. It seems the smaller the better for 2021.
Another trend we noticed was that many women spent their down time working out in the solitude of their homes. Home gym equipment sales hit an all-time high during the COVID lock-down and workout clothing was virtually nonexistent in both stores and online sales.
Further the trend continues for older woman who are working out regularly holding onto their youthful appearances desire a higher level of fashion in their swimwear styles partnered with again the more mature curvier figure is now becoming the mainstream desired female physique.
So without further ado, lets take a look at what the 2021 swim season has in store for beaches, cottages and boaters alike.
2021 Age Demographics of Survey Participants
2021 Overall Swimwear Trends
The chart below represents the general swimwear trends at a top level. this chart shows not only the trends over the past 6 years but which of the top general styles meaning bikinis, thongs, g-strings, tankinis and one piece swimsuit are trending for this coming year.
From the data graph above we can see the sudden change in the bikinis, thongs and somewhat the g-sting styles. The general bikini has lost 7% of its ranking over the past year. As much as this trend has been ongoing for the past six years, a 7% drop is considered considerable over a twelve-month period. More importantly the thong bikini has taken a sudden leap of 13% in popularity which is a shocking surge in popularity over the same period last year. We also see a somewhat similar trend with the G-string adding 5% to their popularity but still nowhere near the thong.
In addition, both the tankini and the one-piece swimsuit have lost more traction this year with the tankini losing 5% and the one piece losing 6%.
Interestingly in the comment field for this question, we had a high number of respondents who mentioned both Tonga bikinis, Tonga one-piece swimsuits and thong one-piece swimsuits. Our analysts found this interesting simply because the Tonga has been mentioned in past years but not in the numbers that we are seeing this year. Note: As the year progresses, we may add the Tonga styles as part of this survey next year.
The obvious outcome of this portion of the survey is that the cheekier styles are in without a doubt but not only in the 18 to 25 year old categories but also in the 25 to 40 categories and in many cases nearing 50 year old’s. lets be honest, women are holding onto their girlish figures well into their mid to later years, combine this trend with the fact that the curvaceous figure has now become extremely desirable further expands the demand for the cheekier styles.
What is a Tonga
Tonga Definition: The Tonga style is very similar to a thong bikini or thong one piece swimsuit but offers ever so slightly more coverage. This would likely explain the increase in popularity as it is considered a cheeky style and a transition swimsuit to the thong.
2021 Bikini Top Trends
Here we have summarized what bikini tops are trending in the coming swimwear season. there were not really any surprises here but later we will review sheer swimwear trends that will be surprising to some.
Our Survey included the following basic bikini top styles
- High neck
- Racer back
Other than there is a slight increase for women in the younger age group, “18 to 25” years old wearing underwire bikini tops the bikini top trend has not really changed. It seams the focus is more on the fabric and sheer / see through levels than on style when it comes to bikini tops. Translucent bikini tops are definitely trending up.
Bikini Bottom Trends for 2021
Heading into 2021, there was a definite jump in the cheekier styles of bikini bottoms. Maybe it was somewhat driven by the COVID lock-down and people were desperate to get out, only time will tell.
Overall there has been a trend towards the cheekier styles including Tonga’s, thongs and G-strings over the past five years, but heading into the upcoming year, they have taken a strong hold. Of course the full coverage and high thigh bikinis are still in the lead, but not by much. There is only a 3% differential between the thong and the full coverage bikini and if the trend continues into the following year, we just may see the thong take over first place. So for the bikini bottom style of the year, you can expect to see many more thongs and Tonga’s on the beaches this coming travel season and into the summer for 2021.
Sheer Bikini Top Trends for 2021
Another surprise heading into the coming fall and winter and into summer 2021 is the tolerance level for sheer and see through swimwear styles.
Similar to the thong bikini, the sheer styles are in style for sure. Over the past 5 years we have seen the not sheer styles drop from 80% down to 45% in 2020 and a further drop heading into 2021 at 26%, where as the sheer see through styles have seen a steady increase not only in acceptability but popularity from 2% in 2016 to 21% for 2021. Further the slightly sheer styles saw the most increase in popularity from 12% in 2016 to 28% heading into 2021.
2021 One Piece Swimwear Trends
When it comes to the one piece swimsuit we have always had an issue with survey participants completing this section of the survey yet this year, we had a whopping 87.3% completion rate of participants that started the survey completed this section. The best we have had previous to his year was 49.1%. that is almost a 38% increase in completion rate.
With the numbers seen below, there is not really any surprises. The full coverage swimsuit continues to loose traction where as the sexier versions including the styles with deeper plunging necklines, high cut thighs sheer versions and one piece thongs all gaining in popularity, but unlike the bikini trends, the one piece swimsuit demonstrates a steady transition.
Swimwear Colour Trends for 2021
When it comes to swimwear colour, typically the trends are the same between all swimwear styles. The question asks the respondent, if they were going to be purchasing a swimsuit of any kind in the next 12 months, what colour would they be shopping for. The respondent can add up to three options starting with their most favourite.
2021 Swimwear Season Do’s and Don’ts
Do make sure that your swimsuit fits perfectly, a sagging swimsuit / bikini especially when it is wet will not fly
Do sit on a towel or shirt etc when sitting on public benches. When wearing a thong or g-string style, it has become proper etiquette to sit on a towel when sitting on public benches. this is actually better for you also.
Don’t adjust your swimsuit in public, cover-up with a towel and do it on the DL.
Don’t forget the sunscreen, its truly important for your health, keeping your skin young looking and saves you the risk of a painful burn.
Don’t wear spiked shoes to the beach, yes this was a trend that failed in 2020, if you want a higher heel, purchase a set of wedges.
2021 Swimwear Trend Survey Participant Comments
We like to share some of the comments we receive every year. As much as it would be impossible to list them all, we group comments into common themes or comments with similar themes so you can get a feel of what people are thinking. Any comment listed below had to have a minimum of 20 common comments to make this list:
- Why is the one piece thong not included in this survey… Sheryl
- I found that thongs were more popular than ever this year… Leslie
- So many thongs on the beach this summer. Loving the styles…Donna S.
- I am older and not much of a fan of the thong bikini yet they are everywhere. Sandra
- Love the sheer swimsuit styles I see on the beaches, very sexy… Donna L.
- Loving the beach scene this year. Really like the cheeky styles that are so popular…Sandy
- The one piece thong swimsuits look so awesome… Silvia
- Your survey needs to talk more about colour…Danny
- Why the questions on see through swimwear, I have to ask should they be on the beach?.. Roni T.
- As much as their was less attendance on the beaches in my home town in Florida, the thongs and G-strings were out in full force, never seen so many in previous years… Rachael
- Love those sheer bikini tops. They look so beautiful, I want one… Brenda R.
- I look forward to your survey every year, thanks for including me again. I can’t wait for the results, Hurry up…Cassandra
- I see a lot of shaping bikini tops on younger girls. When I say shaping, I mean underwire tops. I am a bit heavier and have a rather larger bust, I always wear an underwire top… wore a thong for the first time this year and loved it… Mandy R.
- So many sexy one piece swimsuits with a thong like bottom at the marina and on the lake, really nice to see…Randy
- I really like the cheeky sport bikinis that are so popular this summer They look like a cross between a thong and a high thigh bikini… Sarah
- I don’t like the really tiny bikinis, meaning the ones that just cover your bits. the thongs are great, but those really really teeny tiny bikinis that show just about everything are gross… Donnell
- Why so many thongs on the beach this year, why can’t girls just wear a regular bikini. I just don’t get it…Emma
- I like the really bright colours this year at the beach. So colourful. I was nice to finally sit in the sun and feel the sand after being cooped up in the house for so long…Sophia
- I wore a thong to the beach this summer for the first time ever. I am 33 years old and it was so much fun. I was really nervous but I just fit in with the crowd…Amelia
- Can’t say I enjoyed going to the beach this year, to many girls wearing those thong bikinis… it is surveys like this that populate this kind of information that causes this. Just because they are trending does not mean it is good to tell the whole world..Why. Why. Why…Ava
- So many thongs on the beach, so nice to see women feeling liberated and free…Adeline
- I am older “44” and I have to say I really like the bikini styles this year. SO free and fresh looking…Ella S.
- Saw a sheer one piece swimsuit for the first time on a girl this summer, so sexy…Riley T.
- I have wider hips and for the first time I felt completely at ease on the beach this summer…Layla
- I have a heavier body type, there were so many women / girls wearing skimpy bikinis with the same body type. It was refreshing to say the least…Zoey C.
- I live near Santa Monica Beach in California. I run on the beach on a daily basis and I was shocked to see so many tiny exposing bikinis this year. I think girls need to cover up and not put everything out there. So much skin and I feel its unnecessary. Enough is enough…Natalie
- I am an addicted bikini wearer, I love my bikini collection. So many sexy cheeky options available this year. Think I need s second job to support my collection…Brooklyn
- I started to wear thong bikinis this spring at the beach in public, I will never go back. It was so freeing… Claire
- Not going to lie, I love the attention when I wear my thong bikini. Its just fun and makes me feel good. Keep up the good work, I love your annual survey. When are the results coming out this year? I am hoping we can travel a bit this winter again, I am anxious to get swimsuit shopping LOL…Samantha
- I see more and more sheer or see thru bikini tops on the beach. I really like them. I think they add a really feminine look to a swimsuit… Maya
- Just wanted to say, some of the sheer bikini tops look really good with a cheeky bikini…Alexa
- I was at a cottage for an all girls weekend this summer. One of my friends was wearing a slightly see thru bikini top. I thought it was really sexy. I a going shopping lol…Naomi
- I find the younger girls at the beach are showing to much skin. I feel it is to much in my face. Everywhere I look there are butts and boobs just seemingly out there for everyone to see. its to much…Hailey