In Insight, Marketing, Trend

The generational eye-roll has been going on, well, for generations. While the “OK, Boomer” retort coined by Gen Z on TikTok may have jumped from the digital realm to common vernacular brands, marketers who dismiss older consumers do so at their own risk. The past decade saw the proliferation of brands created by millennials for millennials, some disrupting the status quo and many others simply trying to capture their share of the coveted millennial mindshare. However, the 2019 AARP Survey of Women’s Reflections on Beauty, Age, and Media surfaced data that beauty is important to women, and its importance doesn’t diminish with age.

  • Overall, 89% of women say beauty and personal grooming are at least somewhat important to them (43% very important, 47% somewhat important).
  • Top definitions of beauty are more often intrinsic than extrinsic and are consistent across generations, with none including physical appearance.
  • Top motivations are also intrinsic and relatively consistent across generations.
  • As women age, the increased importance of inner beauty reflects the decreased importance of external motivations. 92% of women 18+, 88% of millennials, 92% of Gen X and 95% of Boomers agree that inner confidence is more important than outer beauty.
  • Being healthy is a stronger motivator for women 50+ than for younger demographics.
  • On average, women use six beauty and personal grooming products each day, devote at least 30 minutes per day to their beauty and personal grooming regimen, and spend $40 per month on beauty and personal grooming products.
  • Older women are more likely than younger women to feel ignored by the beauty and personal grooming industry. 39% of women 18+, 24% of millennials, 40% of Gen X, and 53% of Boomers feel the industry doesn’t create products with people their age in mind.
  • Women 50+ have difficulty finding products tailored to their age. Those under age 50 are more likely to use home remedies and to turn to social media for solutions.
  • Women 40+ have unmet needs, with 70% of women ages 40+ wanting to see more perimenopausal and menopausal beauty and personal grooming products.
  • Women across generations agree that older adults are not adequately represented in advertising: 65% of women 18+, 58% of millennials, 64% of Gen X, and 74% of Boomers.
  • Boomers feel the most underrepresented and feel like the beauty and personal grooming industry treats them as an afterthought.
  • The majority of women feel that media images, in general, are ageist (69% total women, 64% millennials, 70% Gen Xers, 74% Boomers). As women age, they are more likely to grade the beauty and personal grooming industry with a C or worse for representing people their age in its ads.
  • Women’s desire for inclusivity is not limited to age. Across generations, women show loyalty to brands that represent people their age.

While there are certainly generational differences when it comes to needs, there’s tremendous cross-generational alignment when it comes to the mindset and perception around beauty.

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