It’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged. All is well, but I was busy chairing QRCA’s (Qualitative Research Consultants Association’s) annual conference, held last week in beautiful Montreal. Quite an experience – one which I grew from personally and professionally.
I thought I’d start back blogging with a humorous post, topical given that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I saw this headline: “Bra Sizes Up Three Sizes In Just Two Years, According To Study.” This corporate study, done in England, reported that the average bra size purchased went from a 34B to a 34DD in two years. This amused me. I understand from their report that 78% of women had been wearing bras which were too small for them, but three cup sizes? I’m not so sure about that!
As marketers and researchers, we need to know how to read the data and know when a finding might not be what it seems to be. Consider the following hypotheses to explain this shift in sizing:
- The chain reporting this finding could have opened new store locations in different “trading areas.” If you’re a size 00, you know it’s much easier to find clothing in Los Angeles than in Chicago.
- Women got fatter. Hmmm…the band size (for you men out there, the “34” part) didn’t increase – something that is likely to happen with major weight gain.
- Lots of women had plastic surgery. This would account for the same band size, but is this hypothesis viable given the world-wide economic downturn?
- As we’ve moved into more of a global economy/marketplace, sizing has become more standardized. If a B cup in England was a D cup in China, how does a global marketer deal with manufacturing unless they standardize?
Certainly, there could be other hypotheses. But what’s most important is the next time we’re looking at data, we all need to ask some basic questions about a study’s methodology and question if its implications are on a solid footing. Otherwise, “big” trouble might result. 😀