The World’s Most Beauty-Obsessed Cities

It’s hard to deny that the concept of beauty is deeply entrenched in modern society. People look for beauty in all sorts of things, from art and music to architecture and nature. However, perhaps one of the most widely-discussed aspects of beauty is the beauty of people. This can encompass various elements, including fashion sense, hairstyle, body shape and makeup application.

Some parts of the world are inevitably going to be more interested in this aspect of beauty than others. But which places are the most obsessed with it? We sought to answer that question in our latest study.

Our data points included:
• Number of salons
• Average review rating of clothing stores
• Number of spas
• Number of gyms & fitness clubs
• Number of beauty & fashion events
• Level of online interest in beauty-related topics

Which city do you think will turn out to be the most obsessed with beauty? Read on to discover the answer…

Density of Salons

We started by looking into each city’s number of salons per 100,000 people using Google Maps. Salon types range from hair and nails to tanning and skin care.

Cape Town is home to a large number of salons (287 in total), so it’s understandable that the city has the highest per capita number. Meanwhile, London has the highest recorded number of salons, but thanks to its large populace it trails behind in 34th.

At the bottom of the rankings, Mexico City came last. The city has a fairly good number of salons; however, that total is actually very small when considering the city’s massive population size.

Density of Spas

Next, we moved on to each city’s number of spas per 100,000 people. Spas offer customers various services related to changing one’s image according to what they consider “beautiful”. Treatments range from manicures and pedicures to courses of hot waxes and laser hair removal.

It seems that Paris is the city with the highest density of spas. France’s capital managed to take a clear win: despite having only a middling population size of around 2.2 million, it had by far the largest number of spas out of all the cities on this list, with a total of 901.

At the other end of the table, Mexico City came last with less than one spa for every 100,000 people. Venice stands out: it only has five spas on TripAdvisor! In the city’s defence, it has one of the smallest populations on this list, with a total of only 261,613.

Average Clothing Store Rating


We then used Google Places to study the average review scores of each city’s clothing stores.

The city with highest average rating for its clothing stores is Bangkok, with an average of 4.5461 out of 5. The rest of the top ten is comprised of cities from a variety of continents, including two from South America and one from North America. However, Europe has a definite majority with a total of six cities in the top ten.

The city with the lowest average clothing store rating is Singapore, with an average of 3.9242 out of 5. Singapore is one of only two cities with an average score below 4 (the other being Osaka with an average of 3.9536).

Density of Gyms & Fitness Clubs

Having a strong and healthy physique is something that many people consider an important aspect of beauty in humans. We therefore decided it was worth looking into the number of gyms and fitness clubs per 100,000 people in each city.

The city with the highest per capita concentration of gyms and fitness clubs is Prague, followed by Lisbon and Dubai. While the first and third cities both have rather high totals (42 and 32 respectively), Lisbon actually has a relatively low total of 15 – it reached its high ranking due to its small population size (around 505,526).

São Paulo finished at the bottom of the ranking, with Mexico City coming second and Buenos Aires in third. Despite having massive population sizes, all three of these cities only had a few gyms and fitness clubs according to TripAdvisor.

Beauty & Fashion Events


Finally, we found data relating to each city’s number of professional beauty and fashion events (including tradeshows, conferences, workshops and meets).

New York finished first with 56 beauty and fashion events, only just ahead of London (with a total of 55). Paris trailed behind in third with a total of 36. The fact that these three cities make up the top three isn’t very surprising – they’re all considered global fashion capitals in their own right.

The cities in the lower end of the ranking had only one or two listed beauty/fashion events each. Interestingly, most of the cities with only one event are smaller European cities (i.e. Venice, Oslo, Budapest and Brussels).

Online Interest in Beauty Topics

Finally, we investigated each city’s level of online interest in beauty-related topics based on the results of their respective countries. We used Google Trends to gather the data for various keyword subjects, including:

• Fashion
• Cosmetics
• Salons
• Spas
• Gyms
• Fashion shows
• Plastic surgery

The combined results are listed below, while the individual scores can be found in the piece’s full methodology.

Ireland’s Dublin turned out to be our city with the most online interest in beauty. However, it was very closely followed by the UK’s London and Edinburgh, with only a 9 point difference.

The city with the least online interest in beauty is Turkey’s Istanbul, with a score less than a third of Dublin’s. Only two other cities in the bottom ten come from outside Europe: Bangkok and Seoul. The other seven cities are European.

Methodology

We used minmax normalisation to give each city a score out of ten for all the above data points. We then combined those results to reach an overarching score, allowing us to discover the world’s most beauty-obsessed city.

The following formula was used to generate normalised scores for each data point:
Result = (x-min(x))/(max(x)-min(x))

Results

In the end, our data showed us that the city most obsessed with beauty is in fact Miami. The city has of the highest densities of gyms & fitness clubs and came sixth for density of spas. Despite this, the city didn’t have high scores for every factor. When it comes to beauty and fashion events, Miami has only a fifth as many as New York (the winner of the data point).

The second most obsessed city is Dubai. It didn’t top any of the individual rankings but still scored well, particularly for its gym density, spa density and online interest in beauty. It did less well with its clothing store quality and number of beauty and fashion events, although it still managed to stay out of the bottom ten for both factors.

Edinburgh took third place in the final ranking. Its score is very close to Dubai’s – only 0.36 less with a total of 33.04. The city consistently found itself in the top ten for several factors, namely salon density, spa density, gym density and online interest in beauty terms.

Let’s move to the bottom of the rankings to look at the cities that are the least obsessed with beauty. Seoul has the lowest overall score, rarely managing to get more than one point for each factor. This is rather unexpected, considering the fact that the city has seen a boom in cosmetic surgery in recent years. For instance, a survey carried out by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in 2018 revealed that South Korea now has the fifth highest percentage of plastic surgeons in the world!

It was followed by Istanbul, which only managed to stay ahead due to a fairly high average clothing store rating. Brussels finished third from the bottom, with low scores across the board.

In this study, we delved into the data points that we felt were indicators of a city’s level of obsession with the subject of human beauty. If you’d like to see our sources, as well as the full individual rankings, click here.

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