U.S. beauty consumers seek diversity in brand marketing
According to a new study from market research company Mintel, 63% of Americans are inspired by beauty brands that show diversity in advertising, highlighting the growing importance of inclusivity in the cosmetics industry.
The report further revealed that 68% of consumers who said they would like to see more diversity in advertising for beauty and grooming products explained that they feel that it “reflects real life,” while 56% said that it “shows that there are different ways to be beautiful.”
And this desire for diversity is reflected in consumers’ purchasing behavior, with 47% of survey respondents saying that they had looked for or bought from inclusive brands in the last year and 24% claiming to have bought from minority-owned beauty brands.
Nonetheless, 73% of consumers said that they felt that the beauty industry plays on women’s insecurities, with 72% agreeing that society’s idea of beauty is too rigidly defined, figures which suggest that there is still room for improvement in the sector – and, more importantly, great potential for brands adapting to the new beauty landscape.
“Beauty marketing is increasingly shifting from ‘aspirational’ to ‘inspirational,’” said Mintel senior beauty and personal care analyst Clare Hennigan. “Successful brands recognize that demonstrating a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion – whether through employment, advertising and/or product development – helps drive inspiration and empowerment.”
Mintel also highlighted that DEI is a complicated and nuanced area that brands should approach with care.
As pointed out by Hennigan, waiting until Pride Month in June to promote gender-neutral cosmetics could be seen as a marketing stunt, rather than a serious commitment to inclusivity. Brands should therefore adopt consistent messaging about their dedication to DEI.
Diversity also means different things to different people, with 52% of beauty consumers saying that affordable products mean that a brand is inclusive and 48% saying that it is a range of shades that indicates a label’s commitment to inclusivity. 39% of survey respondents said that brands representing diverse groups in their advertising were inclusive.
DEI indicators also vary by age, with 55% of baby boomers saying that inclusive brands are those that respond to a range of age-related needs, a statement that only 32% of Gen Z consumers agree with. On the other hand, 40% of Gen Z beauty consumers said that the offer of gender-neutral products makes a brand inclusive, compared to only 25% of baby boomers.
“When consumers consider whether or not a beauty brand is inclusive, it is largely dictated by whether the brand satisfies the consumer’s own needs - how accessible the brand is to them personally - underscoring the importance of understanding core audience values and needs,” explained Hennigan.
As highlighted by the analyst, this has led to a range of different responses from brands. This includes the hyper-personalized approach seen in L’Oréal Perso, which is set to launch in 2021 and will use AI technology to create personalized skincare products, and the universal approach adopted by brands like Humanrace.
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