You’re buying the wrong size t-shirts for your band (and it’s costing you money!)

Get your sizing right, and you’ll earn much more money.

It’s really difficult to know exactly how many of each item size to order when ordering in bulk (for when you’re on the road, for example).

But let’s start at the beginning… There are two main ways in which a band, DJ or solo performer can generate and manage sales of merchandise:

1 – On-demand, where items are printed-to-order and sent directly to your fans when they order them (this is what we specialise in, here at Dizzyjam). This is a completely risk-free process, but isn’t always great if you want to sell merch from a stall, while you’re on the road.

2 – In bulk, where you usually take the financial risk of getting multiple shirts printed in advance, and are then responsible for sale and distribution, sometimes with the help of a third party. And it’s here where you can really earn the big bucks, if you’re clever, as the profit margins can be much better. But you have to know what sizes of merch to print.

But time and time again we’ve seen people waste effort, time and money by ordering the wrong sizes, colours, or types of merch, and been left with hundreds, even thousands of dollars’ worth of merch sat in a box, not earning money. We’ve seen plenty of people even lose money on merchandise! BUT. You can easily make £10 gross profit per t-shirt when printing in bulk, so selling just an extra 10 t-shirts = £200. Running out of Mediums early could easily account for 10 potential lost sales.

Sizing is probably the area where artists get it most wrong. They make crude judgments about what sizes they should order (“I dunno, 20 of each!?”), and inevitably end up with a bunch that they just can’t shift. So, here’s the basic distribution of the main sizes of mens/unisex t-shirts that you should have as your baseline.

We’ve taken the data from the last 15,000 direct-to-fan sales worldwide, across the thousands of acts that use Dizzyjam, and we’ve analysed it to bring you some great insights that can make your next bulk merch purchase more efficient and more profitable. We’ve even teamed up with our sister service, Ramp, to offer you 5% off bulk orders (just use the code “DizzyjamData” at checkout).

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The quick headline here is “go big on Mediums and Larges”, especially if you’re in Europe or North America (more on the difference between countries shortly). This is where you will make the majority of your sales. In fact, two thirds of male/unisex t-shirt sales are accounted for by Mediums and Larges.

So, now you’re equipped to make a better judgment on roughly how many t-shirts you should buy to minimise the likelihood of ending up with a bunch of unused tshirts. But what happens if you go on tour overseas? This is where international data starts to make things even more interesting.


Here you can see that European countries and Australia broadly follow a similar pattern, with the Mediums and Larges accounting for the majority of the sales. However, when we turn our heads to USA (purple) we can see there is a much stronger percentage accounted for by XXLs (approx 15%), with Mediums and Larges being the apparent “victims”. In other words, it appears that music fans in the US tend to take larger sizes. In fact, they buy about double the amount of XXLs t-shirts that their European brethren do! Japan (orange) also turns the Euro-centric view on its head, with a much more small-medium bias in its distribution, with almost zero XXLs sold in Japan at all*

Now click on the countries in the header below to see how the sizings differ.


So, if you’re touring Colorado instead of Cornwall, or Italy instead of Indiana, this is something that you need to take into account. And don’t forget to check out Ramp’s super-simple system, and use the “DizzyjamData” coupon for a great deal.

Next – how to make smarter decisions about which colours to buy!

* This data doesn’t take into account cultural preferences for “fit” – i.e. Americans may prefer to wear their t-shirts more baggy.

** We have fewer sales, and therefore less data, for Japan, so this is still a work in progress

One Response to “You’re buying the wrong size t-shirts for your band (and it’s costing you money!)”

  • Tyler Birch says: November 20, 2016 at 9:26 pm

  • I’m in a group who’s base is mostly young women, I was wondering if you had any stats on just women’s sized shirts? Also, it would be interesting to know what bands/genres have different t-shirt size ratios (aka young women buying The 1975 shirts v. large beer chugging men buying Flogging Molly t’s)

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