Beauty & Cosmetics: How Millennials Are Shifting A Category

October 19, 2016

There is a shift occurring in the beauty and cosmetics category that is indicative of a larger change taking place throughout many other categories.​

According to research firm The NPD Group, over the past year there was a decline in brick and mortar sales for both skincare and anti-aging products. Combine these declines with a notable increase in fragrance sales and the big picture begins to come into focus – Millennial buying habits are changing what products (including beauty and cosmetics) are being purchased, and how they are being consumed. The reason this shift in the sales numbers for beauty and cosmetics brands is worth noting is because their declines go directly against what has become expected in the category. They also demonstrate long-prophesized predictions coming to fruition. For the last couple of decades, Baby Boomers have been in charge, both figuratively and literally. Their likes and predilections have driven nearly every facet of our daily lives, from what shows were most popular on television, to what products were most commonly promoted to consumers. Their sheer size and spending power made them the most sought after cohort for marketers and retailers. But now Millennials have come into their own, and if marketers and brands haven’t taken notice, they are way behind the 8-ball. There’s a long list of ways that Generation Y is redefining nearly every aspect of our daily lives, but marketers and brands need only pay attention to a few key shifts:​

1) UNDERSTAND THEIR WANTS 

While they aren’t interested in anti-aging products, this doesn’t mean they don’t want to protect themselves and their skin. It just means that they’re a few years from thinking they need products designed for older consumers. Many Millennials take their skincare regimen very seriously, but are more concerned with the now, rather than the future.​

2) BRICK AND MORTAR LOCATIONS ARE STILL IMPORTANT 

Mostly to affirm the research Millennials have done prior to stepping foot inside a location. For beauty and cosmetics brands, brick and mortar should serve as a complement to your digital channels, and should always leverage B&M as a way to educate on new products and techniques.​

3) THE EXPERIENCE MUST FEEL SEAMLESS

Savvy is a term that is often thrown around when it comes to Millennials. They do their research, they find deals and they don’t fall for bullshit. Make sure that the way you’re communicating with this audience always comes from the same voice, and your look and feel matches regardless of the channel you’re using. The big takeaway is that Millennials are a large and powerful generation who are impacting the way every brand and business is approaching their operations. Rather than bemoan the proverbial passing of the torch from Baby Boomers to Gen Y, the best course of action is to leverage an intelligent, engaged and highly creative generation. If you’re able to entice them into loving your brand, chances are you’ll reap huge benefits.​

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