For Millennial Women, Beauty is Fun

Gymnast Aliya Mustafina

I don’t remember being as captivated by Olympic athlete’s hair, nails and eye makeup as I have been the past ten days.  From Aliya Mustafina’s smokey eyes, to Missy Franklin’s nails to Sanya Richards-Ross’s flowing tresses, women athletes seem to have spent as much time at the salon as in the gym.

Beauty Care = Self-Expression

Tattoos, nail art and ‘smokey eyes’ are just a few of the ways young women boost their confidence and show their uniqueness.  Fascination with  beauty care is characteristic of Millennials, who are nothing if not self-expressive.  Research from Mintel shows that women 18-24 have much higher agreement with statements about beauty care being fun and self-expressive.

  • 65% of women 18-24 say they ‘enjoy the ritual of putting makeup on’, compared to just 45% of all women
  • 69% of women 18-24 say they ‘wear makeup to express my personality,’ compared to just 55% for all women
  • 51% of women 18-24 say they ‘enjoy wearing designer brand makeup’, compared to just 35% for all women

Celebrity Trendsetter Zooey Deschanel

With this level of involvement, little wonder that over 1.1 million follow style setter and ‘it girl,’  Zooey Deschanel, on Instagram and 2.8 million follow her on Twitter (@zooeydeschanel). She doesn’t post often, but when she does share a photo of her latest nail creation (tuxedos for the Golden Globes, lemon yellow 3-D bows for Critics Choice) it generates buzz. Over 89,000 ‘liked’ her silver bows on Instagram.

Small Brands Gaining

While the big four beauty brands (L’Oreal, Revlon, Johnson & Johnson, P&G) hold nearly an 84% share of the market, smaller brands like elf are growing nearly twice as fast as the category as a whole. Brands like e.l.f. are coming on strong , largely by addressing the more playful needs of Millennials with fun products at attractive prices. Half of the company’s sales come through its website. (Mintel, “Color Cosmetics – U.S.”, July 2012)
At the retail level, Sephora totally understands Millennials want to have fun at the cosmetic counter, with rich experiences both in the store and online. Every visit to a Sephora is like visiting a candy store.  Online, Sephora’s 14 Pinterest boards offer inspiration with titles like “It List,” “Eye Candy,” and “Nailspotting.”
Further reading:
Generational MarketingBeauty Store Business, June 2012 (I’m quoted!)
“Color Cosmetics” Mintel, July 2012