Why we get tattoos

Why we get tattoos

One in four of us (23%) are sporting tattoos, according to our latest research. Roughly similar numbers of males and females have tattoos, while one in eight (13%) have more than one.

Six in ten (59%) of those with tattoos have one on their arm, while over a third (36%) have one on their back. There was a clear gender divide in where people had their tattoos. 80% of men with a tattoo have one on their arm, while a fifth (21%) say they have one on their chest and back. In contrast, the most popular tattoo for women to get was on the back (50%), followed by the arm (42%) and foot or ankle (21%).


There were a variety of reasons that people said were why they got their tattoo, although the most popular was because they liked the design (37%), followed by it marking a special life event (26%), a tribute to a loved one (24%) and it marking something they?re passionate about (24%). Only 5% said they got their tattoo because they were drunk at the time.

A fifth (19%) said at least one of their tattoos is visible at work, and a third (32%) said at least one of their tattoos is visible when out in public generally. However, a majority (60%) said that their tattoos are not visible in public or at work. The older seemed slightly more conservative than the younger generation, with more saying their tattoo is not visible in public or at work (69% to 50%).

By contrast, the three quarters of the public without tattoos seemed quite unconvinced by them, with half (51%) saying that they did not have one because they are ?ugly?. A slightly less adamant third (32%) said that there was nothing they would want to get as a tattoo, while 29% said they were worried they would regret getting one in the future. Just under a quarter (23%) said the pain put them off.

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,009 UK adults. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria. The research was conducted from 29th October to 1st November 2013.