Tattoos in Australia: Perceptions, Trends and Regrets

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tattoos in Australia: Perceptions, trends, and regrets | McCrindle ResearchThere is a niche of Australians who love tattoo sleeves and full image tattoos covering a large portion of their bodies, while others appreciate tattoos but have decided to keep their ink-loving small scale.  

Our latest research surveying 500 ordinary Australians revealed that 12% of individuals had one or more tattoos. Below are some insights we gained into the latest perceptions and trends Australians hold towards tattoos. 

Not just youthful rebellion

While a number of individuals reported getting tattoos when they were younger, 40% of people got their first tattoo aged 26 or older, and 1 in 10 Australians got their first tattoo aged mid 40s or older.

“It was a midlife crisis at age 45…a beautiful frangipani flower.”

Mainly one-offs or few tattoos

Of those who have tattoos, 54% only have one tattoo, 23% have two to three tattoos, and a further 15% have four or five tattoos.

The traditional approach of getting many tattoos is not the mainstream today, with only 8% of those with tattoos having more than 5. 

Tattoos of words or symbols increasing

For a third of tattooed Australians, the most recent tattoo was a word or symbol. Popular at the moment are names or initials of family members, children, or partners, as well as symbols that have personal meaning and Latin or Chinese character text.

“I have the phrase, ‘Never Give Up,” on my left wrist. I got it as a reminder because I suffer from depression.”

“It means a lot to me – it is a gift from one of my best friends and it has my children’s and husband’s name [in it].”

“I always wanted [a tattoo] to remember a happy time in my life.”

Not without regrets

One third (34%) of Australians with tattoos say that they regret, to some extent, getting a tattoo. One in 7 (14%) have commenced or looked into tattoo removal.

“It is my ex-boyfriends initials… now means little but serves as a reminder to think and then think again before I get another tattoo.”

“I really wanted it at the time – it’s been nice but now I would remove it.”

“I was young, only 18, and wasn’t thinking clearly at the time. I’m glad I only got one.”

General perceptions

Whether tattooed or not, 3 in 4 all Australians (76%) would discourage or strongly discourage their adult children from getting a tattoo. In fact, only 1 in 20 Australians would encourage their adult children to get a tattoo, and 1 in 5 parents would remain indifferent as to whether their son or daughter, if over 18, walked away with permanent memorabilia after visiting a tattoo artist.

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