Tattoos: One Market Creates Another Market

By George Farris, CEO, Farris Marketing
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Tony Soprano parked his Chevy Suburban in front of Grab & Go Liquor. As he walks in the store, two policemen are leaving. “He’s all yours,” says one of the cops. “Thanks fellas,” Tony replies.

When Tony sees the storeowner, he says, “Hey Mr. Quan, I’m sorry about your problems. My friends in the police department tell me you were robbed a couple of hours ago.”

“Yes!” Mr. Quan replies. “They pointed a gun at my head.” 

“Terrible thing,” Tony says. “But maybe I can help you.”

The store owner gets the message and agrees to pay $2,500 a month for protection. He won’t ever worry about being robbed again.

Later that night, Tony sees his nephew Christopher at Bada Bing strip club. “How much did we get on that thing” he asks (referring to the robbery at the liquor store).

“A lousy seven hundred bucks,” he complains. “Barely worth the effort.”

“That’s OK,” Tony says. “The math is better on the back end.”


There are few legitimate businesses that present an opportunity to create a second business just to get rid of the results of the first. One very notable exception is the tattoo and tattoo removal market.

The tattoo artist industry brought in $1.4 billion in 2021, Time reports. And that growth is expected to continue. “Forty-six percent of Americans have at least one tattoo,” reports Tattoo Pro. They can get their ink at over 30,000 parlors.


While getting a tattoo seems to be more of a “want,” getting rid of one seems to be more of a “need.” According to industry research, last year 28.6% of women and 29.7% of men wanted to get rid of their tattoos.

The increasing frequency of “tattoo regret” is boosting demand for tattoo removal. Removal customers say they got their tats when they were too young; they no longer fit their lifestyles. Or it was a person’s name who is no longer in their life. So, Sarah dumped you but you still have her name on your buttocks?


When it comes to tattoos, the math is definitely on the back end. You can get a small tattoo (under 2 inches) for $30 to $100. The biggest tattoos attract a price of $500 and upward.

Tattoo removal, however, costs nearly 10 times more – from $900 to $3,500. It can take more than one session to rub it out. The removal market consists of 70% female clients and 30% male.

If $1.4 billion in revenue makes the tattoo market big, the tattoo removal market is huge. According to Strategic Market Research, the global tattoo removal market enjoyed $4.34 billion in revenue in 2021. By 2030, revenue is projected to reach $12.15 billion.


A tattoo removal technician is consulting with a woman about the heart-shaped tattoo on her thigh. In the center of the heart is the name of her ex-boyfriend. She recently became engaged to another man and he hates that tattoo.

The technician is very understanding. “Terrible thing,” he says. “But maybe I can help you.”