Kantar Releases Global Spotlight on Beauty & Appearance Report, Highlights Women's Desire to Look Good for Themselves, Not Others

Study finds 42% of global respondents say paying attention to their appearance is extremely or very important to them, with 52% of women saying they are motivated to look their best because it helps them feel confident.
07 March 2024

NEW YORK (March 7, 2024) - Kantar, the world’s leading marketing data and analytics company, today released the findings of its Kantar MONITOR’s Global Spotlight on Beauty & Appearance report, an exploration of appearance motivations around the world. Findings include changes in top motivations for consumers to look their best, consumer segments most likely to pay attention to their appearance, and emerging marketplace trends.

Overall, the results found that women are much more motivated to look good for themselves (52%) while men care more about what others think, specifically their spouses/romantic interests.

“The report underlines that in 2024, brands need to understand how the 'why' behind buying beauty products has evolved, especially for men and women,” said Sara Nettesheim, Senior Consultant, Kantar Global MONITOR. “Brands need to look closer at which external and internal motivations are resonating with people today, and then partner with the right spokespeople and influencers who have the credibility to speak to these desires."

The study found that, of the 36,000 global respondents, 42% say that paying a lot of attention to their appearance is extremely or very important to them, with levels varying considerably by market. Broken down, the percentage of people assigning importance to appearance is significantly above average for those within emerging markets (Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, China, India, and South Africa), while more developed markets view appearance with less importance, with Sweden reporting the lowest percentage. 

A breakdown of the key findings from the report include: 

  • By Gender
    • Men have started to care more about how they look
      • 41% of women and 41% of men say paying a lot of attention to your appearance is extremely/very important
    • 52% of women say confidence is motivation to looking their best
    • Women are more focused on themselves while men aim to please others
  • Women are less likely to feel motivated to look their best to please their spouse or partner
    • Out of 11 appearance motivations, men’s ranking of “to please my spouse or partner” remained stable at #5 in both 2018 and 2023
    • Women’s ranking of “to please my spouse or partner” was lower than men’s across both years, falling from #7 in 2018 to #9 in 2023
  • Gen Z, members of minority groups, and city dwellers are more likely to pay attention to appearance 
    • Gen Z 55% (vs. 42% Global total)
    • Racial/ethnic minority 50% (vs. 41% Non-minority)
    • Urban center* 47% (vs. 37% Small town/rural**)
  • Compared to 2018, people are more likely to be motivated by certain social factors when it comes to looking their best (% pt change 2018-2023)
    • There is strong societal pressure to look attractive: +5pts
    • It is important for my career +5pts

"Men's interest in appearance has increased to match that of women, whose interest during that same period has declined. This decline in interest for women may be because they don't feel totally understood,” added Nettesheim. “When we think about why we use beauty products, the narrative is often about external validation from others. This holds true for men, but women are actually more motivated by internal factors like feeling confident or improving their mood. As beauty brands embrace men's interest in the category thanks to new, softer definitions of masculinity, they also need to cater to women's desires to use beauty as a vehicle for internal satisfaction."

Methodology: Global MONITOR conducts an annual consumer insights study among 36,000 respondents, ages 13+, across 28 different countries.  

To learn more visit https://monitor.kantar.com/global-monitor/