Tattoo Popularity Soars: 15 Must-Know Statistics for Small Business Owners

As a consultant to entrepreneurs in the tattoo industry for over 10 years, I‘ve witnessed incredible growth firsthand. Tattoos have shedf their rebellious stigma to become mainstream self-expression. With more Americans getting inked every year, I want to provide small business owners the latest key statistics to help capture this expansion.

Let‘s look at the numbers.

More Tattoo Parlors Opening Across America

You can gauge a business’ potential by growth metrics and few industries demonstrate such tremendous expansion. There are now over 20,000 tattoo parlors across the U.S. according to Statista’s polling data, with specialized shops tailored toward nearly every style and aesthetic.

Major cities unsurprisingly have the highest shop concentration based on population size, but the demand supports parlors even thriving in small towns. This ubiquity lets you tap localized and visiting markets.

And the industry shows no signs of slowing down. The U.S. tattoo business was worth $3 billion pre-2020. However post-pandemic, analysts predict that number ballooning to over $5 billion by 2030. That represents massive opportunities for new artists and shops.

I’ve assisted many upstart tattooers in cost-effectively setting up their own private studio or securing a chair rental at established studios. The low barriers to entry combined with this projected growth makes now an ideal time to start your tattoo venture.

tattooed Americans Span Ages and Backgrounds

Many first-timers still view tattoos as a hallmark of youthful rebellion. But the numbers reveal a cross-section of inked Americans:

  • 41% of 18-29 year-olds have tattoos
  • 46% of those 30-49 years old are tattooed
  • A quarter of 50-64 year-olds sport body art

And while men kickstarted tattoo popularity in past decades, women now catch up with 38% sporting ink compared to just 27% of men as per Harris Polls’ research.

Tattoos also appeal across education levels:

  • 39% of people with a high school diploma or less have tattoos
  • Over 20% of college graduates have tattoos
  • Even 12% of those with postgraduate degrees get inked

So don’t limit yourself to young punk clientele. Approach shop ownership knowing that body art appeals to Americans across backgrounds – an estimated 160 million tattooed individuals alone.

The Next Generation Adopts Body Art

Looking ahead, tattoos will skyrocket among young Americans embracing body art:

  • One in five adults under 30 plan to get tattooed for the first time
  • Over 30% of young adults already sport multiple tattoos

Toluna’s generational surveys found that 60% of Gen Z (born 1997 onward) view tattoos positively compared to just 36% of baby boomers. As older generations fade, expect body art to widely expand.

Millennials also drive business today – branded as the “tattoo generation” with 40% sporting ink per Reports and Data research. They’re entering prime spending years and prioritize experiences like tattooing over material goods.

In total, Americans shell out $1.65 billion yearly on tattoos per Forbes estimates. And with younger generations leading expansion, expect wallet share toward tattoos increasing substantially.

Arm and Back Placements Lead First Tattoo Popularity

When advising new clients on their maiden tattoos, the most frequent question I field is “where should I get this?”

My answer aligns with tattoo statistics aggregated by Sparks Research showing the forearm as the #1 spot for first-timers at 40% followed by their back at 39%. It allows visibility or discretion as desired.

Other top locations I suggest include shoulders, upper arms or calves, ankles or top of foot if discretely employed. Of course placement should complement the design, so discuss options during your consultation.

I do deter neck, face or hand tattoos for first-timers; less than 5% select these visible areas initially. There’s time to build up!

Buyer‘s Remorse Affects 1 in 4 Clients

An important part of consultations involves discussing permanence. With tattoos life-lasting, some end up regretting their decision:

  • Approximately 24% of tattooed Americans report regret per Everyday Health’s poll
  • Interestingly, men and women share similar regret rates
  • Regret proves higher among older clients – about 27% of 65+ and 30% of Hispanics

As a business owner, regret directly impacts your bottom line through removal services and cover-ups. It’s key to properly set clients’ expectations around the longevity of your artwork. Thoroughly discuss the design and placement to mitigate regrets down the road.

An ounce of prevention equals tons of business cure!

Meet the World’s Most Tattooed Man

On the opposite end of the ink spectrum from tattoo regret lies Australia’s Lucky Diamond Rich – the Guinness verified “Most Tattooed Person” globally. He boasts head-to-toe tattoos totaling 200% coverage of his skin surface area!

Rich embodies the extent which body art has entered mainstream culture. Can you imagine a walking billboard like him achieving this record even 20 years ago without facing persecution?

Instead he thrives hosting talk show appearances and celebrity status within tattoo circles. If Rich ever wants a cover up consult, call me first for priority seating!

Time to Claim Your Share

With tattoos’ popularity soaring for the foreseeable future, the time is now for aspiring artists and business owners to stake your space. Custom body art appeals across generations, genders and backgrounds, fueling industry surpassing $5 billion.

For entrepreneurs seeking guidance opening or expanding a tattoo venture, reach out today and let’s discuss how to strategically capture this growth.

Now pick up your tattoo machine before the prime real estate fills up!