Beach trends survey: Where to find nude sunbathers, Speedo acceptance up

Beachgoers enjoy a sunny Tuesday, July 2, 2013 on the beach on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. (AP Photo/Northwest Florida Daily News, Devon Ravine)

WASHINGTON — This year’s biggest beach trend could be the Speedo.

At least that’s according to travel website, Expedia’s survey that found there is a growing acceptance toward men’s brief-style swimsuits around the world.

The 2014 Expedia Flip Flop Report examines behavior and preferences with beachgoers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand.

“The beach is the world’s most popular travel destination by a considerable margin,” Vice President and General Manager of Expedia.com John Morrey said in a news release. “So every year we ask travelers all over the world to tell us their likes and dislikes as they relate to beach behavior. In response, we can offer travelers the recommendations that best suit their preferences. Expedia will help you get to the perfect beach, but when it comes to behavior on the sand, you’re on your own.”

The survey found 74 percent of worldwide respondents consider Speedo-style briefs to be acceptable beach attire. Last year, 65 percent of respondents said Speedos were OK to sport.

There are some differences in Speedo acceptance between countries. In the survey, 95 percent of Brazilians approved, 94 percent of Australians, 91 percent of Germans and 91 percent of Spaniards. On the other end of the spectrum, 40 percent of Norwegians approved, 57 percent of Americans and 60 percent of Japanese.

Beach Nudity

While Speedos may seem skimpy, two countries tied for the likelihood of sunbathing naked. Twenty-eight percent of Germans and Austrians in the survey said they have spent a day at the beach in the buff.

This was Germany’s third year at the top of the nude beach-going trend. Worldwide, beach nudity is more common among men with 18 percent saying they participate. Just 6 percent of women sunbathe sans swimsuits, the survey found.

Women going topless at the beach is more popular in European countries with Austrians (49 percent), Spaniards (42 percent) and Germans (39 percent) most likely to participate.

Around the world, 12 percent of people say they go to the beach nude and 20 percent of women say they have sunbathed topless.

Worries Near the Waves

Beach time can be relaxing, but the survey found many people have concerns while the sand is between their toes.

Forty-four percent of the participants worldwide said they have anxiety about shark attacks. The most fear came from Brazil where 84 percent of respondents said they are worried about attacks from sharks.

Beachgoers don’t let it affect them too much, according to the survey — 50 percent said they are afraid to swim because of sharks, but 35 percent of the group will get in the water anyway.

Theft is another worry for beachgoers. Sixty-eight percent of the participants say they are “very” or “somewhat” anxious about having wallets, bags and other possessions stolen on the beach.

The report was commissioned by Expedia and conducted online by Northstar, a global research and consulting firm. The study was conducted among 11,165 adults 18 years of age and older, across 24 countries on five continents.

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