Poll by Mobiles.co.uk shines light on reality of celeb-backed photography trend among UK adults

Snapping selfies has become almost a full-time job for some of the net’s hottest celebrities, and with editing software readily available, there’s plenty of opportunity for the images to be retouched. But are the general public as taken with their phones’ front camera function as the stars appear to be?

In a recent online poll by Mobiles.co.uk, 38% of people questioned said they had taken at least one selfie in their lives. They aren’t shy about sharing them online as celebrities do either; in fact a third of people online who do take them (33%) are likely to share their selfies on Facebook.

Of those who do take selfies, a huge 69% said they never use software or an app (encompassing any computer program which can be downloaded to a smartphone or tablet) to modify the selfies they keep and send so they look better, suggesting most people feel confident about how photogenic they are.

This willingness to go ‘au naturel’ doesn’t come without work, however, as a question about how many times respondents typically take a selfie before sending it to someone or uploading it to a social media website revealed…

Capturing just the right look is clearly extremely important, with almost one in ten people (9%) revealing they took between five and 15 selfies before finally uploading or sending the image. However, several retakes don’t necessarily guarantee a shame-free result, and regret was rife amongst the online poll’s respondents. “I realised that I didn’t look good afterwards” was the most common reason for people ever regretting taking a selfie (13%), while that all-too-common reason for remorse, “I was intoxicated at the time” left 6% of respondents feeling red-faced after snapping a self-photo.

Despite the prevalence of people never modifying selfies, one in ten selfie-takers know that a slightly odd-looking pout or a makeup mishap needn’t render their efforts unusable: 6% admitted to using an app or software to modify most of the selfies they keep and send so they look better, and 4% held their hands up to modifying every single one.

Despite this concern with how good they look in their selfies, the study’s findings indicate that many selfie takers use this type of photo simply as a record of the places they have visited (23%). However, a smaller proportion of respondents revealed they had other intentions for their self-photos, admitting to taking the images to send to a partner (15%), to show off an outfit (15%) and to send to people they are attracted to (5%), explaining why re-takes and modifications are popular in the pursuit of the perfect result.

Selfie-taking isn’t always a serious business, however, and light-heartedly looking up while pulling a parody pout may be the way many selfies come into being: when asked why they have ever taken a selfie, the highest percentage of participants responded that it was for fun (45%).

When asked what they are likely to do with the selfies they have taken, the Mobiles.co.uk‘s online poll revealed that Facebook is the most popular social platform on which to share selfies (33%). This was followed by sending them via text/SMS and via an instant messaging service such as Whatsapp (both 14%). While 9% said they share their selfies on Snapchat and 8% chose Instagram, only 5% share them on Twitter, 3% on a dating app, and 2% post them to a blog. They are least likely to share their selfies via Pinterest (1%).

Here in the UK we are not all interested in keeping a record of our self-photography, though: 15% are likely to delete the selfie once they have looked at it – this could perhaps be due to the fact that 13% said one of their reasons for ever taking selfies was to check they look good.

The online study also showed that more women than men take selfies to show off their weight loss – 5% compared to 2% – and considerably more women than men used the photography style to check they look good – 17% compared to 8%.

Abby Francis, Mobile Phone Expert at Mobiles.co.uk commented on the study’s findings: “There are so many reasons for snapping a selfie – from pride in our appearance to a desire to share a weird or wonderful location – it’s no wonder having a good quality camera to hand is important to us.”

She continued: “Whether we use our selfies as a mirror to check we’re looking our best or we pull the worst face we possibly can, choosing to keep our selfies on social media sites or stored on our personal devices will provide a fantastic collection of memories to look back on whenever we like.”

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2253 adults, of which 883 ever take selfies. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th February – 3rd March 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

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