The global market for beauty products is in the midst of a revolution.
The rise of millennials as a powerful consumer group with new ideas about beauty and lifestyle has forced manufacturers to re-think old assumptions. For example, the importance of men as consumers of skin care products has grown rapidly. We have also seen an explosion of innovative new products in new categories, particularly ingestible skin care.
To better understand current trends in the beauty market—and the underlying attitudes—Lycored recently commissioned a survey of 480 consumers of skin care products in France and the United Kingdom, two of Europe’s biggest skin care markets.
While beauty and health are closely related when it comes to skin care, the question remains, which motivation is more important to consumers? To that point, the survey posed a stark question: “If there were a choice, would you rather feel healthy or look attractive?” Overall, 87 percent said they would rather feel healthy, although women were slightly more likely than men to say they would rather look attractive. Consumers in the UK were also slightly more likely than those in France to say they would rather look attractive.
Respondents then reviewed a list of five reasons to use skin care products, and ranked which were most important. The two that scored highest related to health and wellbeing: “To keep my skin healthy” (79 percent) and “To feel good about myself” (62 percent). By contrast, the two reasons that scored lowest were appearance-related: “So other people think I look attractive” (18 percent) and “So other people think I look younger” (14 percent).
These shifts in emphasis from how one looks to how one feels, from beauty to health, from outside to inside, help explain why the ingestible skin care category is growing. The changes are largely driven by the attitude of millennials, representing a departure from the “anti-wrinkle” priorities of older generations.
New products in the ingestible category explicitly appeal to a “from within” millennial philosophy. The founder of one probiotic range for skin care commented: “The whole line is all about not just probiotics, but the concept that what we do for ourselves internally is also great for our skin.”
Additionally, the concept of ingestible skin care ingredients is becoming increasingly mainstream. Across all age groups, two-thirds of consumers agreed with the statement: “The idea of taking a supplement for skin health or beauty is normal.” Only 14 percent said the idea was “not normal.”
Moreover, there is a clear generational shift, with younger consumers more likely to have used an ingestible skin care product. More than four in ten (43 percent) consumers in the millennial age group (18 to 35 years) said they had used an oral product to benefit their skin health at some point. This compared with 39 percent of 36- to 49-year-olds, 23 percent of those aged between 50 and 6 years9, and 14 percent of those aged 70 years or older.
Barriers to the category remain. Among respondents who had never taken a pill or supplement for skin care, 46 percent said the main reason was: “It seems to make more sense to apply a product to my skin.” The second most commonly cited reason (32 percent) was: “I wasn’t aware I could achieve the same skin care benefits by taking a pill or capsule.” These barriers were least likely to be cited by millennial respondents, suggesting that awareness of the potential of ingestible skin care is highest among younger consumers.
Skin care consumers are ready for change. Their rejection of traditional ideas about gender, beauty and age means they are ready for new kinds of products. The emergence of new consumer categories, such as high-spending millennials and appearance-conscious young men, represents a major opportunity for manufacturers and marketers of skin care products.
However, to meet their needs, it is necessary to understand the new “from the inside-out” skin care philosophy. People want natural, clinically proven products that genuinely support their health and make them feel good, not just potions that make them look younger.
Ingestible skin care will continue to blossom as a category, but the change is more fundamental than that. Today’s consumers now understand beauty as beyond skin deep, a feeling or quality that starts from within.
Zev Ziegler is the head of Global Brand & Marketing, Health, at Lycored.