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Anti-aging undergoes positive rebranding

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Healthy aging and prevention positioning are bringing balance to a market where younger consumers are buying in, and more mature shoppers don’t want to be labeled as “old.”

The world is getting older. By 2030, people age 65 and older will make up more than one-fifth of the North American population, according to Euromonitor International.

A declining birth rate and rising life expectancy contribute to this aging population growth, which caused the beauty and personal care industry to pivot toward embracing aging over the past two decades. In Asia-Pacific, 12.5% of the population will be over the age of 65 in 2030, according to Euromonitor. With more of the Asia-Pacific population entering retirement, lifestyles and spending patterns should adapt, thus impacting the future consumer landscape, particularly beauty and personal care.

The aging concept is also starting to enter younger consumers’ mindsets. According to Euromonitor’s “Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2021,” consumers ages 15-29 in Asia-Pacific are making purchase decisions with aging top of mind, taking a personal interest in their health long term. In North America, the percentage of consumers who take health supplements and vitamins at least once a week reached 65% in 2021—the highest of all regions. Underscoring these demographic and behavioral changes is the overarching trend of wellness in North America and Asia-Pacific.

Globally, anti-aging transformed into healthy aging and inherent prevention. Consumers want to live a quality life in the present, as well as a long life in the future. The distinction between prolonging life and quality of life differentiates the topics of health and aging. Healthy aging balances both.

Three main strategies to reinforce healthy aging in beauty and personal care emerged: rebrand as neutral or positive; focus on claims related to preventive benefits, skin health and solutions; or focus on sun protection. However, Asia-Pacific and North American populations are aging at varying paces, so these strategies manifest differently across markets.

In North America, the desire to be healthier is changing the narrative of aging, moving away from fighting the signs of aging to focusing on looking and feeling good at any age. As reported in HuffPost, backlash over the “anti-aging” term led beauty publication Allure to ban its use in August 2017. Michelle Lee, editor-in-chief at the time, wrote that the term was “subtly reinforcing the message that aging is a condition we need to battle.”

Since then, aging terminology in North America shifted to include “age specialist” and “age specific” positioning, as well as softer terminology that speaks to healthy or slower aging benefits, such as “age perfect,” “slow age” and “pro age.” CeraVe’s newest launch in October 2021, Skin Renewing Nightly Exfoliating Treatment, expanded the brand’s anti-aging line, including three essential ceramides to help improve skin health. K-beauty inspired indie brand Glow Recipe eliminated the use of words, such as “flawless,” “poreless,” “anti-wrinkle” and “perfect complexion” in its marketing.

This article continues in the “Personal approaches to healthy aging” digital magazine. Click the link and select “Beauty industry responds to a new aging narrative in North America and Asia-Pacific” from the TOC.

Kayla Villena is the head of beauty and personal care at Euromonitor International. She analyzes changing consumer preferences, megatrends influencing adjacent industries, and the ripple effects from industry disruptors and innovators. Leveraging custom consulting experience at Euromonitor, Villena works closely with stakeholders to understand their strategic goals and communicate how to win, synthesizing beauty insights. She also speaks at industry events and has contributed to numerous publications.

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