The oldest actual evidence of tattoos on a human body espouses that the tattoo industry is here to stay. Ötzi, a 5-000 year-old mummified man. According to the Smithsonian Museum, the oldest evidence of tattooing was Ötzi, a natural mummy with 61 tattoos across his body. The tattoos are on his left wrist, lower legs, lower back, and torso. His discovered body in the Ötztal Alps dates back to 3250 B.C.
The origins of tattooing are unclear, however, historians have proven that the practice originated long before the late Stone Age (4,000 B.C.). There was evidence of tattooing on clay figures found in Romania, dating back to nearly 5,000 B.C.
Today, the tattooing industry has experienced significant growth and evolution in recent years, becoming a thriving sector within the broader art and beauty market. With its rich cultural history and increasing mainstream acceptance, tattoos have become a popular form of self-expression and body adornment.
Market Size and Growth
The tattooing industry has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years, both in terms of market size and revenue. According to market research, the global tattoo market was valued at $2.04 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach $3.93 billion by 2030. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.87% during the forecast period (Ibisworld, 2023). The increasing acceptance of tattoos, coupled with advancements in tattooing techniques and equipment, has fueled this growth. There are approximately 26,210 “Tattoo Artists” businesses in the US as of 2023, an increase of 2.9% from 2022 (Ibisworld, 2023). California has roughly 2,896 businesses, New York with approximately 2,598 businesses, and Florida at about 2,000 businesses, commanding about 30% of the US market (based on automated search crawlers), not accounting for private services operating without a mainstream business presence online.
With the number of businesses and artists showing off their art on Instagram, the industry continues to rise from an established, historical base based on, what seems like to this writer, deeply-rooted human behavior.
The United States, being one of the largest tattoo markets globally, plays a significant role in shaping industry trends. In 2022, the market size of the Tattoo Artists industry in the US was $1.5 billion. It experienced a substantial growth rate of 13.2% during the same year, indicating a strong demand for tattooing services. Over the past five years, the “Tattoo Artists” industry in the US has consistently grown at an average annual rate of 3.8%, outperforming several other industries (Fortuneworld, 2023).
Factors Influencing Growth
The tattoo industry is a labor and supply-intensive business requiring creative talent and tattoo supplies. Several factors contribute to the growth of the tattooing industry. Firstly, the industry benefits from a growing life cycle stage, as more people embrace tattoos as a form of personal expression. Additionally, improved access to credit has made it easier for individuals to invest in high-quality tattoos and intricate designs. These factors, combined with the influence of popular culture and social media, have contributed to the industry’s expansion.
According to IBISWorld, the highest costs for business in The Tattoo Artists industry in the US as a percentage of revenue are Wages (37.3%), Purchases (7.4%), and Rent & Utilities (3.6%).
Interestingly enough, most data suggests there is no mainstream leader in the industry. With the low market share concentration, apparently, no entity commands more than 5% of the market. Tough to say. Ideally, we’d have to go into gleaning data from tattoo businesses, artists, and followers on Instagram, and correlate the data with financial records to better answer this.
Understanding the demographic trends within the tattooing industry is crucial for businesses and artists. Adults between the ages of 20 and 64 typically drive demand for tattoos, with a higher concentration of individuals obtaining tattoos before the age of 50. In the coming years, the number of adults aged 20 to 64 is expected to increase, presenting a significant growth opportunity for the industry. Who knows?
The tattooing industry is subject to various trends that shape consumer preferences and artist practices. Tattoo styles and designs continually evolve, ranging from traditional and tribal motifs to more intricate and artistic creations. Techniques such as watercolor tattoos, realism, and minimalism have gained popularity, catering to diverse aesthetic preferences. Furthermore, tattoo artists are increasingly exploring collaborations with other art forms, such as photography, fashion, and sculpture, leading to unique and innovative expressions of tattoo art.
The tattooing industry has experienced significant growth and transformation in recent years. With a global market projected to reach $3.93 billion by 2030, the industry continues to attract individuals seeking self-expression through body art.
The US market, in particular, has witnessed remarkable growth and outperformed several other sectors. With changing demographics, evolving tattoo styles, and a growing acceptance of tattoos as a form of personal expression, the industry is poised for further expansion and innovation.
As the tattooing industry continues to evolve, staying informed about the latest statistics, trends, and consumer preferences is crucial for both tattoo artists and businesses. By understanding the market dynamics and adapting to emerging trends, industry participants can position themselves for success in this vibrant and ever-growing sector.
Live a life. Be happy. Improve as you go.
Paul Park, A La Brava, Managing Editor