Generation Z and Beauty brands: how to develop a new connection

6th of November 2020

Generation Z, which consists of around 30% of the global population is becoming very important to the beauty sector. The beauty and fashion industries are looking for new ways to develop their products towards Generation Z’s needs, which are very different compared to Millennials. 

Who they are and what they are feeling

Gen Z are young consumers, with an average age around 25 now, and are the first generation to grow up with digital gadgets in hand their entire lives.  We could be call them “digital natives”.  They are also the most conscientious generation known to date. 

Following data collected by WGSN, 62% of Gen Z individuals believe that that have to make a positive impact on the world. They strive to make their consumer behavior reflect their values. They are ready to spend money on products from brands whose values correlate with theirs. Here we have the term “Conscientious Beauty”.

Generation Z expects much more from a brand: more personalized connection and content, more environmental responsibility, and better consumer experience. Beauty brands have to convey ethically sustainable values and set up good CRM to resonate with Gen Z, as well as to integrate AI technologies to personalize and improve customers’ experience.

Conscientious Beauty

Young consumers who’ve had access to the whole internet their entire lives are more educated about things like the quality of ingredients and manufacturing ethics. They are also increasingly concerned about minimizing any negative environmental impacts of manufacturing. 

They want to be proud of the way they invest and spend their money. Sustainable beauty, cruelty-free, vegan, organic, inclusivity, and diversity are key-words for beauty statements. Beauty brands have to integrate these concepts into their business and communicate those statements and values, creating more close and emotional relations with Gen Z consumers.

What is Conscientious Beauty and what concepts do brands have to highlight for Gen Z:

1)    Clean Ingredients – excluding parabens, phthalates & other ingredients 

2)    Cruelty Free – not tested on animals

3)    Vegan – created without animal ingredients or by-products

4)    Sustainable packaging – reduced, recyclable or refillable packaging to minimize waste

5)    Positive impact – highlighting brands that have giving back at their core

Visual aesthetics

Gen Z’s visual aesthetics are slightly different from Millennials. Gen Z don’t want overdone ideal filtered images that have contoured perfect proportions, big lips and an idealized face.  Instead, Gen Z wants things to be real and to be their own expression on themselves, not some idealized male fantasy. For example, think of Billie Eilish with her own unique beauty and creativity.  Gen Z wants to enhance natural beauty and to look more real.

Social and Cultural Impact

Brands have to translate their core social, cultural and even political values as well. Being centered on diversity, inclusivity, feminism, gender, and sexual fluidity was a social agenda first implemented by mainstream brands to target Millennials. But the difference for the Gen Z is that they’ve grown up with those values through their entire lives, they live in a very diverse, open, multiracial, and transgender society.  Following these kinds of values is already obvious to Gen Z.

Author: Daria Mudrova 

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