In November 2009, Prevention magazine surveyed more than 1,500 women for the publication’s first “War Against Time” antiaging report, an in-depth look at what the trenders, spenders and recommenders (read, your beauty consumer) think about antiaging, and what steps these women are taking to look and feel more beautiful. Investigating all aspects of the antiaging category, this report delved into the female beauty buyer’s psyche to uncover exactly what she’s thinking about the hottest category in skin care. Antiaging beauty has gone beyond simple wrinkle reduction. In 2010, antiaging has spilled over into every aspect of her life, and the magazine explored the true 360-degree view of antiaging from women in their 20s through their 50s. Here is what they found.
Antiaging is All the Rage
Aging, who me? Not on your life. Women are obsessed with finding the fountain of youth and aging gracefully. As the median age increases, the antiaging product market is poised to continue its expansive growth. Baby boomers are seeking out ever new and effective ways to slow down the passage of time, while women in their early 20s are trying and buying products that promise to prevent damage before it begins. Regardless of age or ethnicity, 69% of American women have used antiaging skin care or makeup products on their faces or bodies in the past 12 months. That’s a powerful indicator for a market segment that has only just defined itself fully in the past 15 years.
And while traditional antiaging skin care creams and serums are gaining in popularity, innovative antiaging at-home devices, cosmeceuticals (products that promise a clinical benefit while also beautifying) and nutriceuticals (ingestible products that promise an “inside/out” beauty advantage), are also gaining momentum as women attack aging from every angle and by every possible means. Even toothpaste has entered the age-defying game.
What does all of this mean to your brand? It means now is the time to not only understand what the consumers are thinking about antiaging (that it applies to individual consumers, regardless of age) but also that they want the innovations. Half of all women say that they pay attention to what’s new in antiaging and are always on the hunt for the next great product. If your brand wants to be the one to give her the next great product, keep reading. The Benchmarking Company has identified six key antiaging power vitals that you should be following now to keep your target consumer onboard your antiaging train in the future.
Women have a love-hate relationship with their appearance and getting older. On one hand, they embrace the way they look, while on the other, they want all the antiaging products they can get. More than 45% of all women feel they look five years younger than they really are, and when asked their age, only 2% felt the need to lie—90% were happy enough with how they looked to tell the truth. But on the other hand, they don’t want to look any older, either. Fifty-five percent of women admitted they would spend up to $100 every six months to look 10 years younger, and women overall are still purchasing antiaging products to combat the encroaching signs of aging at a strong clip.
Even more interesting? Women’s roller coaster “love myself/hate myself” ride is starting early. Women in their 20s are willing to pay a premium for skin care with antiaging benefits (35%), and purchasing antiaging products was the number one thing almost half of all women did when they first noticed the signs of aging on their faces or bodies. Regardless of their acceptance of getting older, women want to feel and look beautiful, and, as a whole, they are keenly interested in minimizing the effects of aging through antiaging skin care. Give them a product that lets them feel as beautiful as they are yet also answer their cravings for antiaging benefits, and you will gain their loyalty.
Not So-so, Oh-so!
Women feel most beautiful in their 30s. Forget worrying about middle-age; women in their 30s are empowered, educated and feel gorgeous, and they’re getting down-to-business with their antiaging routine. In fact, 52% of women began purchasing antiaging products during this decade. In addition, women in their 30s are also the biggest users of sunscreen products, with 47% using sunscreen daily and 86% using products that contain SPF. They’re also savvy. This age group shops for beauty products online more often (39%) than other age groups and is most willing to pay a premium for them.
Women in their 30s have a healthy sense of beauty adventure that makes them more open to alternative procedures to look young. They are willing to consider options ranging from injectables to brow lifts more than any other age group. They recommend beauty products (44%) to others often, and 35% in their age group say that friends and family tend to ask them for advice on skin care or makeup. Win the brand loyalty of influential, 30-something women at their antiaging product entry point, and the rewards can be great.
Did you update your Facebook page today? Well if you want to keep up with her, you should. Social media and the Internet are beauty’s new frontier. While sales at bricks- and-mortar retail stores continue to slump, online marketing and sales opportunities are skyrocketing with good reason: That’s where these consumers are. Nearly 70% of women have a Facebook page, and 18% are using Twitter. Additionally, a third of all women say they’ve watched online videos about beauty products or procedures and to get beauty tips, while 57% regularly visit beauty websites, beauty brand sites (47%), YouTube (36%) or Facebook (25%) for product information.
In the past year, more than a third of all women (35%) say they’ve purchased skin care products online, with 79% buying at the same or higher levels than a year ago—even through a recession. Women of all ages are using social media and the Internet to gather information about antiaging products and to buy them. Beauty brands absolutely must be part of the online conversation by offering compelling online content and engaging user activities and education or they will be left behind.
Beauty cultural divides are a thing of the past. Women of every nationality are embracing an antiaging lifestyle—some more so than others. Asian and Hispanic women are engaged in an antiaging lifestyle with more ferocity than Caucasians or African-Americans. These women use more antiaging products more often, exhibit higher levels of beauty brand loyalty, use SPF products with more consistency and are more concerned with having products that protect against future aging. Asian and Hispanic women are also the largest new antiaging product buyers by volume, with 18% of Hispanic women and 13% of Asian women buying four or more antiaging products in the past year.
Looking to capture a piece of the natural/organic pie? Asian women are deeply entrenched with buying organic (56%) and natural (56%) beauty products, and are the top users of nutriceutical products (29%). In addition, Asians and Hispanics use cosmeceutical products more often than Caucasians or African-Americans, at 41% and 29% respectively. They also shop online more for skin care products than other groups. Brands that make an effort to speak to the specific antiaging needs of these women who are deeply engaged with antiaging will benefit greatly, considering the U.S. Census Bureau predicts Hispanics will grow to 15.5% of the U.S. population, and Asians will surpass its current 5% number by 2010.
When it comes to looking young and feeling beautiful, extreme beauty is fast becoming a part of her beauty Rx. Women want cosmeceuticals and nutriceuticals, but they need to know more. With the exception of Asians, the beauty consumer isn’t fully engaged in using cosmeceuticals and nutriceuticals quite yet, even though there are a plethora of new products in these categories on the market. Why is she reticent? Nearly half of all women don’t use them because they haven’t seen them on the market, while high percentages are not buying because they simply don’t feel they have enough information to justify the purchase.
But they do have a great interest in doing so—62% of women would be interested in a foundation product with antiaging benefits, 59% are looking for a cosmeceutical lipstick or gloss, nearly half would like a concealer that promotes a youthful glow and 45% want an eye shadow or face powder product that has antiaging benefits. One quarter to nearly half of all women are open to in-office antiaging procedures and surgeries, such as injectables, dermal fillers, chemical peels, face lifts and liposuction. At-home antiaging gadgets, of the type previously found only in the confines of a physician’s office, also intrigue them, but 54% of women don’t know about these gadget. As the old-fashioned notion that getting Botox or a face-lift is a stigma continues to fade, extreme beauty measures will also continue to become more commonplace and accepted. But to truly capture their interest, they need education, and to know more about all the options available to them.
Downloads and Dialogues
Whatever else you do, keep the dialogues going. For antiaging consumers, communication is key and they want more. Today’s women are responsible (64%), confident (45%) and adventurous (36%). They’re willing to try antiaging procedures, and they actively explore new antiaging products on a regular basis. Further, they works hard to age gracefully by using products with SPF, drinking enough water (65%) and maintaining a healthy weight (55%). And they think they’re doing a pretty good job.
Sixty-four percent of women think they look five to ten years younger than they actually are. And even if they’re willing to have a few gray hairs showing (64%) and to have faint lines and wrinkles on their face (71%), the bottom line is, they will never abandon their antiaging quest as a whole. After all, antiaging products were their first line of defense (48%) when they noticed the signs of aging on their faces or bodies. But, while they are willing to try antiaging products or procedures, they have trouble understanding what differentiates one brand’s antiaging day cream, eye cream, face wash, sun protection, serum or body cream from the next. The fact that most women felt the difference in branded products was negligible or not apparent to them speaks volumes about the need for brands to better communicate their vantage points to women.
As you continue to look down the road to future innovations and discoveries in antiaging, you first and foremost need to remember that without understanding what the beauty consumer wants (and understands) about antiaging, even the best idea or ingredient can languish in the realm of good ideas gone bad. Innovate and introduce products that women can see themselves reflected in, educate and engage them with creative online (and in-store) campaigns, and you will capture their loyalty through every decade.
Alisa Marie Beyer is the founder and creative director of The Benchmarking Company (TBC), a global beauty consulting firm offering business, strategy, consumer intelligence and branding. As publishers of the “must-read” Pink Report and WomenTrends, TBC keeps its fingers on the pulse of the industry and offers unparalleled consumer insights and intelligence. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.benchmarkingco.com