Understanding the key purchase drivers and expectations of the growing demographic of senior consumers is becoming a strategic priority for beauty players.
Over 60s will account for 12% of the global population in 2015 to 17% by 2030, providing rich opportunities for companies that get their products, services and purchase experiences right for this lucrative consumer segment. Although the senior market is increasingly diverse and it is not a homogenous group, identifying key characteristics should provide insights into lasting growth prospects.
Healthy appearance takes priority over anti-aging for over 60s
Both in skin and hair care the most desired functional benefits ensuring healthy looks, such as hydrated skin and healthy, dandruff-free scalp, significantly outweigh anti-aging claims. While 63% of Euromonitor International’s Beauty Survey respondents over 60-years-old selected moisturising/hydrating as the most desired product feature in their skin care products, only 38% of them sought out anti-aging claims. Wrinkle prevention and wrinkle minimising properties do not even make the top five priority features for this age group and in hair care, grey hair camouflaging was selected by less than one fifth on the respondents.
Most desired product features in skin care and hair care by 60+ year-old respondents - 2015
Source: Euromonitor International Beauty Survey, conducted between April and May 2015 in 21 markets (US, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Russia, Nigeria, South Africa, Middle East, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia) across skin care, hair care and colour cosmetics.
Beauty product ranges targeting the over 60s consumer base have to focus on offering to aid healthy appearance at all life stages rather than to turn time back. Additionally, the claims have to be specific about any skin concern they are targeting, e.g. lifting/firming or texture improving, to align with the still reigning personalisation trend in beauty.
Pre-planned purchases sustain established grooming routines
Purchase motivations for senior consumers show how the majority of them sustain their established routine, half of them stating the number one reason for purchase is the need to replace their existing product because it ran out. Only 13% of respondents buy a product to find one that works better than current/previous one in use. When it comes to beauty products, impulse purchases are very atypical to this age group, fewer than 5% of them would buy something unplanned.
The enjoyment of the shopping experience also ranks very low, with fewer than 4% selecting it as a reason for purchase amongst the over 60s. Beauty brands have been investing in the development of more holistic offerings in their product ranges, including service and in-store experience, such as Burberry’s Beauty Box or Sephora’s Innovation Lab, but these largely include digital initiatives largely targeting the younger, digital native audience. Initiatives to enhance the shopping experience for the over 60s age group would encourage more of them to impulse purchase, try new products and brands, and upgrade their regimens.
Personal experience and friends and family remain most influential in purchase decisions
Further highlighting their established personal care routine, nearly 60% of respondents stated that their previous personal experience remains the most significant purchase influencer. Although there are no great differences in the significance of previous personal experience across the generations, even amongst the under 30s, 44% of them selected it as the most influential on their purchasing decision. However, dissimilarities are stronger with digital influencers, for example, online reviews or beauty bloggers, with fewer than 7% of senior consumers considering them as purchase influencers.
Interestingly, both salespeople and direct selling agents are less influential on the over 60s than the under 30s. But recommendations from friends, family or spouses carry more weight with senior consumers.
Beauty products targeting senior consumers need to utilise the most significant purchase influencers, such as offering free samples of new product varieties to enable personal experience and introduce rewards (points, upgrades, discounts) for recommending the products to new customers.
Value conscious but do not trade off quality for low price
The Beauty Survey results show that senior consumers are not any less brand aware than any other age groups. In skin care, 43% of them stated that they preferred branded products to private label, but only 14% of them would go for luxury brands. However, they do not trade quality ingredients and products with specific benefits for a low price.
Over 60s are generally more interested in quality, how long things last, and value for money, and are unlikely to be rushed into unplanned purchases. Senior consumers are also the most loyal. They are more likely to stay with brands they trust and to promote them to their friends and family. They are not pre-occupied with anti-aging claims from beauty products, but seek personalised solutions to achieve a healthy look at every life stage.