Does taste exist? If so, who has it?

January 12, 2017, 2:41 AM GMT+0

Taste is a matter of personal preference. Opinions on food, fashion, music, interior design and movies/TV are far from objective, but how do people evaluate their own taste in these categories? YouGov, as one of the world’s leading market research firms, polled 1,000 Australians to find out.

Australians feel most confident about their taste in food, with 63% of those polled saying they have either “excellent” or “above average” taste in food. By contrast, people feel least confident about their fashion choices, with just 39% of those polled saying they have either “excellent” or “above average” taste in fashion.

Perceptions of taste are strongly linked to gender and largely conform to traditional gender stereotypes. Women are more self-assured of their fashion and interior design choices than men, with 18% and 15% of women describing their taste in fashion and interior design as “excellent” (compared with just 11% of men in both area).

Gender divides also extend beyond what the decision is about and factor into preferences over who makes the decision. Men are particularly protective when it comes to music, with over nine in ten (92%) expressing a preference for making their own decisions rather than letting others make them, compared to 83% of women. However, men are far more open-minded when it comes to interior design and fashion, with a much lower percentage (62% and 73% respectively) preferring to make their own decisions. By comparison, women are are far more protective over decisions in fashion, with 89% prefer to make their own decisions.

Confidence in one’s own taste also varies by region. Residents of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory are most assured of their fashion sense (45%), whereas people in Western Australia are far less likely to describe their taste in movie/TV as “excellent” or “above average”, with just 44% confident that they have good taste in movie/TV compared to the all-state average of 58%.

Although not everyone thinks they have the best taste in all areas, few people believe that their taste is “below average” or “terrible”. The area where this is highest is interior design, with 17%.

But does taste even exist? More than half of women (56%) believe that “the only thing that matters is whether I like something”. Men are less likely to subscribe to this view, with a majority (51%) instead saying that “there is such thing as good taste”.