The pressure to look good surrounds us. TV programs, advertisements on the high street and in magazines, newspaper stories on celebrities, even the endless selfies on social media – there are really very few major communication channels are not promoting images of good looking people.
Amongst all this, we have released findings on how satisfied normal, everyday people in 22 countries say they are with their personal looks.
The findings themselves are enlightening, but what is most interesting is what message they deliver to businesses in the fashion and beauty industries.
Latin American countries are happiest with their looks
Complete satisfaction with personal looks is highest in Latin America, with Mexico, Brazil and Argentina all appearing in the top five for the percentage of population claiming this.
When we widen this to include those who say they are fairly satisfied, as well as those who are completely satisfied, Mexico comes out on top, standing at nearly three quarters (74 percent), closely followed by Turkey at 71 percent. Brazilians and Ukrainians come next at 65 percent each, with the Spanish, Germans and Argentinians all tying at 62 percent.
The Japanese are the most critical of their own looks, with 38 percent not too satisfied or not at all satisfied, followed by the British, Russians and South Koreans all standing at 20 percent and Swedes tying with Australians at 19 percent.
Teenagers only slightly more critical about their looks than others
While there is some lean towards teenagers being most self-critical about their looks, it is not as heavy as might be expected – and comes almost wholly from those who are a little bit dissatisfied rather than entirely so.
Overall, 16 percent of 15-19 year-olds say they are “not too satisfied” with their looks, compared to an average 12-13 percent for those aged 20-59 years old. And this difference disappears almost completely for those who are not at all satisfied with their looks, with every age group standing at either 3 or 4 percent.
People aged 60 and over are least self-critical, with only nine percent say they are “not too satisfied” with their looks and three percent “not at all satisfied”.
Men and women are almost level
Comparison of the male and female responses also sheds new light on the assumption that women are more critical of their looks than men. Each gender has 43 percent saying they are fairly satisfied and 12 percent completely satisfied with how they look.
When it comes to being dissatisfied, women do creep ahead of the men, but only by a few points – 14 percent being not too satisfied and 4 percent not at all satisfied, compared to 11 percent and 3 percent of men, respectively.
Why do we care?
For businesses in the fashion, beauty and personal grooming sectors, these finding help identify how you can adapt your messaging to resonate more strongly within each market, or with specific demographics. For example, in Japan, UK and Russia, significant numbers are likely to respond to marketing based around ‘improve or change your look’, while consumers in Mexico and Turkey are more likely to respond to offers around ‘refine and maintain your look’. And almost equal numbers of men as women are dissatisfied with how they look – so personal grooming ads targeted at men could well reap benefits.
Full results are available, free of charge:
Download the full set of data charts, showing both the global results and also country-by-country results.