This is going to be a rather complicated answer, because I have main male and female avatars and an army of alts 😉
My main female avatar has a Catwa Kimberly head, with a Maitreya Lara body. But I also have a female avatar with a (freebie) Akeruka head and a Maitreya Lara body, and another avatar with a LAQ head and a Maitreya Lara body. As you can see, I tend to prefer Maitreya! I also have a female avatar with a (freebie) Akeruka head and a Belleza Freya body, which I use as a dancer to earn tip money 😉 I like the fact that the Belleza Freya body is more voluptuous, curvier, than the Maitreya Lara body.
My main male avatar has a Catwa Daniel head and a Belleza Jake body. But I also have a male avatar with a Catwa Stanley head and a Signature Gianni body. I have been very happy with both.
My alts all have freebie/dollarbie heads and bodies as outlined in my blogposts about where to find free or inexpensive mesh heads and bodies for male and female Second Life avatars:
Anyway, no big surprise, Maitreya Lara is by far the favourite mesh female avatar body at 42.3% of poll respondents so far, followed by Belleza Freya at 10.62%. I swear, the creator of the Maitreya Lara body, Onyx LeShelle, must be carting home money by the wheelbarrow! For male avatar bodies, it’s pretty much a tie between Belleza Jake (27.46%) and Signature Gianni (31.7%).
As for Bento mesh heads, Catwa heads are by far the most popular for both female avatars (35.46% of poll respondents) and male avatars (a whopping 47.96% of poll respondents, almost half the market!). Other popular female mesh heads are LeLutka (20.76%), LAQ (10.98%), and the brand-new Genus Project heads (10.09%). LeLutka is also a popular male mesh head (13.87% of poll respondents).
Only 22.7% of the merchants said that the current month’s sales are better than the average of previous months. 39.1% say that sales were about the same, and 38.2% say sales are worse. It would sound as though the majority of stores are experiencing at least a mild downturn.
What was surprising to me was that 42.3% of vendors stated that Second Life was their full-time job and their main source of income, much higher than I expected! Only 29.7% said they considered their store to be more of a hobby.
When asked if they were planning to move to Sansar or other, newer virtual world platforms, most merchants said that they were staying put in Second Life. Only 1.8% of store owners surveyed agreed with the statement that “Sansar is a great next-generation platform for my virtual business, I started creating content for it already”. Another 9.1% said they were planning to move to other platforms, such as Sinespace, VRChat and High Fidelity. More than half (51.8%) stated that they’ll stay in SL “till the end of the world”.
So, it would appear that rumours circulating that SL vendors are having a rougher time of it than usual appear to have some basis in fact. Sales are down for many, if not most, merchants. Only about 20% of Second Life store owners report better sales than average.
Another thing I found particularly interesting was that the overwhelming majority of merchants have an in-world store location (only 7.3% of those surveyed relied exclusively on the SL Marketplace and/or shopping events).