The Generation Gap in Beauty and Personal Care
As technology continues to advance, shifts in demographics such as higher life expectancy, urbanisation and falling birth rates are reshaping lifestyles and purchasing decisions. In order for companies to continue to connect with the consumer, they must work to understand differences and similarities in values between generations in order to align product and create a route to market development.
The Beauty Survey system offers an unparalleled set of survey results standardized across 20 markets and collected online every year. These results are cross-comparable across markets, custom consumer segments and from year to year. The Beauty Survey system enables users to explore further the ‘who’ and the ‘why’ behind the market trends illuminated in the Beauty and Personal Care system.
The importance of generational segmentation in skin care
Customization remains one of the principal avenues to adding premium value in skin care. This trend is driven by growing individuality and the fragmentation of demand across multiple factors from lifestyle choices and values to age.
Millennials and Generation X are the most frequent users of all skin care products, with the exception of hand care, acne treatments and anti-ageing skincare. The differences in product usage between Generation X and Baby Boomers tend to be small, demonstrating that once a skincare routine is established, it remains mostly constant.
The usage of sunscreen products has experienced the most significant drop by Baby Boomers. Meanwhile, face masks the lowest adoption. Ildiko Szalai, senior beauty and personal care analyst at Euromonitor International, suggests, “In order to encourage higher usage of sunscreen products, frequency brands need to offer more tailoring, making texture and application more suitable to mature skin and also raise awareness of the benefits of regular product usage.”
With this in mind, cosmetic brands should focus on more tailored offerings to ensure higher consistency in usage over time.
Diversity in shades of green features by generation in hair care
Recently, hair care growth has been driven by a preference for more naturally-derived ingredients. Consumers, enabled by technological and social developments, began to pay more attention not just to the efficacy and health aspects of ingredients in their products, but also the origin, processing and environmental footprint.
Hair care has always been one of the most clearly segmented categories by hair types and age. This is represented by brands are further aligning across a wide range of health and eco/ethical values of different age groups.
The youngest consumers, the under 30s, are the more likely to be champions of environmental, ethical causes with their stronger preference for water efficiency, cruelty-free or sustainable resourcing. Findings also suggest that significant proportions of all age groups show a preference for green beauty, younger consumers’ change in lifestyles is reflected in a stronger desire to care for the environment, hence their growing demand for products that are more eco-friendly and adopt more sustainable production practices. Digitally influenced Millennials are often the champions of social justice, fair trade and animal welfare, and their beliefs are reflected in their purchasing decisions.
An example of a company targeting the younger, digitally influenced consumer is Lush. Lush has made environmental sustainability at the forefront of their mission and market this cause mostly on social media and through recommendations.
Based on each generations’ response, all-natural ingredients were the most important “green” feature with locally sourced ingredients coming in as the least important feature. While “not tested on animals” is led by 15-29-year-olds, “All organic ingredients” is most important for 30-44-year-olds. This shows the priority of these age groups within “green” products.
Best marketing channels to reach the right target audience
In addition to the generational differences in usage routines or eco/ethical preferences, purchase influencers also show different impacts by age group. Older consumers are most likely to rely on past personal experience when deciding what to buy and less likely to turn to new digital channels.
The power of discounts, both in-store and online, holds sway over shoppers of all ages, as does the impact of a recommendation from friends or family.
Overall, age plays a more significant role in selecting cosmetic products than gender. The influence of new digital channels is lower in older age groups, while the significance of previous personal experience is increasing with age. Understanding these generational differences will allow beauty and personal care companies to place themselves in front of the right audience strategically.
Source: Euromonitor International