NEW YORK: Consumers come in all shapes and sizes, a detail that makes life difficult for apparel brands whose customers frequently complain of the poor fit of their purchases and who, a new survey says, would buy more – and more frequently – if that wasn't the case.

Body Labs, a maker of technology providing true-to-life 3D body models, polled 1,130 US adults regarding their retail purchasing behaviours and found that 64% of apparel shoppers and 57% of footwear shoppers said 'poor fit' was their biggest reason for returning items.

And there is significant potential for brands that can somehow close the gap between mass market and bespoke tailoring as 85% of clothing shoppers and 72% of footwear shoppers indicated they would purchase more if they could ensure a proper fit, while 58% said they would buy more frequently.

According to the 2016 Apparel & Footwear Retail Survey Report, clothes shopping isn't a happy experience for many people.

Nearly half of consumers said they hated trying on clothes, but the majority still went through the fitting process.

One third (34%) reported they were unsatisfied with traditional clothing sizes and between 22% and 25% of all online and in-store purchases were returned

And rather than waste time shopping around looking for the perfect fit most respondents preferred to head straight to those brands or retailers they knew from past experience would fit them.

"It's clear that shoppers are not satisfied with their experience when trying on clothes, and often times realize later that clothes don't fit and are forced to make returns," noted Bill O'Farrell, co-founder and CEO of Body Labs.

"If retailers could deliver a better fit experience personalized for each shopper," he suggested, "it would cut costs considerably from returns, restocking fees and logistical related costs for managing returned inventory."

And, he added, "a consumer pain point can be translated into an opportunity".

Data sourced from BodyLabs; additional content by Warc staff