min read

What makes us want to look good?

by Amanda Martin , 28.01.2016

On average, we spend 4 hours a week on bathing, shaving, getting dressed, doing our hair and putting on make-up (some of us) 1. This combines almost five hours a week for women and just over three hours for men. But what are the big motivating factors that drive us to want to look our best?

Well, when it comes to major (rather than minor) reasons – the most popular motivation is to feel good about ourselves. This was cited by 60 percent of the 27,000 people interviewed, followed by making a good impression on people we meet for the first time (44 percent) and setting a good example for our children (40 percent).

These top three reasons hold true for both men and women. But the number one reason – to feel good about ourselves - resonates more strongly with women (67 percent women, versus 52 percent men), while the making a good first impression and setting a good example for our other two reasons are cited by almost the same percentage of men as women.


Download the infographic: Top 3 reasons for looking one's best, by gender

Gender divide

For men, the fourth and fifth most popular major reasons for trying to look their best are to please their spouse or partner and to make a good impression on people of the opposite sex or those they find attractive (37 and 36 percent respectively).

By contrast, women are more motivated in trying to look their best by the wish to express their individuality and because it makes them feel in control (both standing in fourth place equal, at 40 percent each).

Top 3 motivations change with age

All age groups agree that feeling good about themselves is the leading major motivation for trying to look their best. But when it comes to the next most popular trigger, the age groups differ.

Not surprisingly, people under 30 years of age are more focused on making a good impression on people they meet for the first time, and making a good impression on people of the opposite sex or those they find attractive rank. For this age group, these rank 2nd and 3rd as the major reasons for looking their best.

For those aged 30 and above, setting a good example for their children is consistent across all age groups as the 2nd most commonly cited motivation. And when it comes to those aged 50 and over, pleasing their spouse or partner makes an appearance as their 3rd most popular major reason.

Italians, Argentinians and Americans spend most time on personal grooming

Italians lead when it comes to time spent on personal grooming (bathing, shaving, dressing, hair, make-up) – saying they spend just over five and a half hours per week on average. They are followed by Argentinians and Americans, who are equal at just over five and a quarter hours per week.

At the other end of the scale, Chinese say they spend less than three hours per week on average, followed by South Koreans with just over three and a quarter hours and Japanese just over three and a half.

Download our free data charts showing full findings for each of the 22 countries.


About the study

1GfK conducted an online survey with over 27,000 consumers aged 15 or older in 22 countries. Online data were collected using a staggered field start that completed in June 2015 and weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population age 15+ in each market. The markets included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK and USA.