Marketing that meets millennial needs

7 December 2018



Millennials make up almost a third of the world’s population, spending about $200 billion each year, so GlobalData Consumer conducted a special report on millennials and their purchasing habits in the beauty sector.


In 2018, GlobalData Consumer interviewed over 50,000 consumers from over 51 countries and compiled the following report based on the responses it received, with a particular focus on millennials.

Why millennials?

According to the latest figures, there are over 2.5 billion millennials, which is almost 33% of the entire global population. By comparison, the grey market (seniors), which has long been such a source of wealth for consumer goods, is only 17%.

Millennials spend about $200 billion annually and there are estimates that they might be worth up to $10 trillion worldwide. In more developed regions, they might only account for 13% of the market, but in less developed ones they are responsible for the spending of 87% of all purchases.

As a key part of leading economies, millennials represent a varied and enormous potential; 27% of the US market, 25% of the UK, 33% of Brazil, 37% of South Africa, 35% of India, 29% of China, 26% of South Korea and 24% of Australia.

Defining characteristics

According to the GlobalData Consumer report, millennials are digital natives, experience-driven and individualistic. The report uncovered the following figures:

  • 64% find being active on social media important (50,000 surveyed)
  • 87% find their looks or appearance in general to be important
  • 60% prefer to be unique and stand out from the crowd
  • 59% find trying new experiences most exciting compared with trying new products.

After compiling and reviewing this informtation, GlobalData has identified four key innovation opportunities to target millennials:

  • community influence
  • healthy lifestyles
  • make it smart
  • male beauty.

Community influence

Consumers are influenced by, and value the opinions of, the online community. 63% of millennial consumers agree they are more likely to trust bloggers or user reviews over brand claims.

Online trends and social media are influencing offline innovation. Consumers are often or always influenced by the following when purchasing beauty or grooming products, according to the report:

  • Millennials: 39% social media, 36% video blogs/demonstrations.
  • Average: 27% social media, 25% video blogs/demonstrations.
Consumers are influenced by, and value the opinions of, the online community. 63% of millennial consumers agree they are more likely to trust blogger or user reviews over brand claims.

When asked if they were interested in beauty or grooming products that follow trends shown on social media, 39% of millennials were interested but not actively buying products, while 31% were interested and actively buying such products.

Informed, educated and engaged millennials are also driving crowdsourced beauty innovations. 67% of millennial consumers find the concept of products that they had helped create appealing.

Healthy lifestyles

Healthy lifestyles are infiltrating beauty innovation. 89% of millennials consider eating healthily important in creating well-being or wellness and 34% claim to exercise several times per week.

The majority of millennials prefer to emphasise their natural beauty than to mask their flaws. 56% find the concept of beauty products that help achieve a natural appearance appealing.

Make it smart

69% of millennial consumers are interested in smartphone-connected electronic tools and devices in beauty or grooming markets.

Male beauty

Individualistic millennials are driving the growing male beauty industry. Many millennial men are willing to increase the number of products they use in beauty or grooming routines to improve their appearance:

  • 59% North America
  • 31% Europe
  • 45% Latin America
  • 41% Middle East and Africa
  • 46% Asia-Pacific.

Males are not immune to image consciousness, which is driving innovation in unprecedented ways. 72% believe their looks are important or very important to them, while 44% agree that social media has made them more selfconscious of their appearance.

Where next for millennials?

Combining customisation and emerging 3D technologies for production in the home is the next major innovation. Similarly, gender identification will become less prominent, driving the development of genderless beauty products.

At the same time, the retail environment will be heightened with interactive experiences and services designed to increase engagement as part of an ‘experience economy’.


Innovation implications: key products influencing the sector

Blogger affiliation

Carli Bybel X BH Cosmetics

  • 5.2 million YouTube followers, 4.4 million Instagram followers
  • An ongoing collaboration, BH cosmetics has joined forces with US beauty vlogger and make-up artist, Carli Bybel, to create a second eyeshadow palette
  • Designed to allow users to put her beauty tips and tricks into practice
  • Capitalises on the blogger’s YouTube following and trust credentials

Partnering with social media influencers The Estee Edit

  • Targets millennials through its ‘camera-ready’ instant benefit solutions
  • Focuses on consumer individuality with the #beautyattitudes campaign
  • Uses Kendall Jenner as brand ambassador to promote products

Kylie Cosmetics

  • The success of the initial ‘lip kit’ product led to the development of an entire Kylie Jenner cosmetics range
  • Capitalises on the social media star’s online influence

Using online platforms to co-create with consumers

Just Herbs Skin Tint

  • India’s first crowd-sourced beauty product
  • A tinted moisturiser developed in collaboration with the brand’s online community
  • Just Herbs users in a members-only Facebook community were asked their ingredient, texture, packaging and aroma preferences

Make-up that stays put and protects from the elements

Arrow Revive Cooling Cheek Tint

  • Breathable, oil-free gel formula
  • Provides a natural flush of colour, built to survive a workout

Shiseido Sports BB Cream

  • Specifically targets active consumers
  • Uses ‘WetForce technology’ to protect from the sun and water

Make-up to enhance natural beauty

Milk Make-up Lip and Cheek Tint

  • Quick, multiuse lip and cheek tint
  • No mirror needed, no brushes needed and easily blended with fingertips
  • “People are more health-conscious these days, and those decisions show up in your skin,” says Diana Ruth, co-founder

Skincare meets make-up

Glossier Haloscope

  • Dew effect highlighter
  • Dual-delivery formula that focuses on nourishing the skin and creating a glowing effect
  • Infused with crystal for highlight, with solid oil core of vitamin-rich moisturisers for hydration

Technology to optimise beauty/skincare

HiMirror Plus

  • Identifies skin issues and creates personalised solutions, tips, and regimes to address them.
  • Assesses skin clarity, texture, firmness, brightness, and overall healthiness

Kérastase Hair Coach

  • Provides information on hair quality and brushing patterns
  • Accompanying app provides information around external factors such as humidity

Transforming make-up application

Color Me Automatic Foundation Applicator

  • Uses sonic pulse technology to mimic the tapping technique of professional make-up artists
  • Eight hour coverage, ‘superior’ to results of conventional brushes or hands

Increasingly sophisticated male beauty items

Yes To Natural Man Charcoal Mask

  • Formulated with charcoal and witch hazel
  • Prevents ingrown hairs and razor burn

Sulwhasoo Inner Charging Serum

  • A water-gel-textured serum formulated with traditional Korean herbs
  • Enhances the natural regeneration of men’s skin.
  • Cares for wrinkles and dullness

Unisex beauty

MAC Brant Brothers Collection

  • Range in collaboration with Peter and Harry Brant, New York socialites
  • Second unisex make-up collaboration by the brothers with MAC
  • Using make-up to change traditional standards of masculinity and femininity

Source: GlobalData

63% of millennial consumers agree they are more likely to trust bloggers or user reviews over brand claims.
Millennials are estimated to spend $200 billion annually and to be worth up to $10 trillion worldwide, making them a key part of any leading economy.


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