According to the latest research from Mintel, nearly one in five US consumers (17%) feel left out of beauty ads, representing a quarter (25%) of Gen Z consumers. Data from the research group suggests that while the beauty industry has made progress in becoming more inclusive, there is still room for improvement.
Cookie-cutter beauty standards are losing popularity, Mitel finds. In fact, nearly half (47%) of beauty product users say they buy from diverse or inclusive brands and 38% of Gen Z beauty consumers have bought from beauty brands that have promoted diversity. over the past year (compared to 23% overall).
Consumers today are looking for inclusive and accessible representations of beauty, as 43% of beauty consumers say it makes them happy to see different types of beauty in ads, with half (50%) of women and 35% of men. It comes as nearly three in five Americans (57%) agree that beauty brands have a responsibility to de-stigmatize flaws.
Although consumers want to see different types of beauty represented and agree that beauty ads should make people feel good about themselves (49%), 30% of consumers say beauty ads should be ambitious.
“Consumers continue to believe that there are unrealistic standards of beauty and some groups feel completely ignored by brands. As a result, consumers increasingly expect brands to change the narrative and de-stigmatize people.” flaws,” said Clare Hennigan, senior beauty analyst at Mintel.
“While adjusting communication strategies is key to instilling a sense of empowerment, consumers want to see brands reflect these changes in product development as well. Going forward, expect even greater focus. stronger on accessible packaging design to both expand target consumer groups and meet the needs of an aging population.”
Impact of social media
Social media pressures have increased insecurities as nearly seven in ten consumers (67%) agree that social media has created impossible beauty standards. As a result, 9% of consumers say they have denounced beauty brands on social networks for their lack of diversity. The importance of social media is further demonstrated by the fact that a quarter (23%) of beauty product users say the type of model/influencer a beauty brand uses says a lot about their values, according to Mintel. The filters and implications of being constantly exposed have impacted consumers’ mental health and self-esteem, so much so that 33% of Gen Z seek out brands that support mental health causes.
“Social media pressures have exacerbated insecurities, and consumers expect brands to de-stigmatize flaws and strive to quash unrealistic beauty standards. However, there is still a desire for messages and ads ‘ambitious.’ Brands that can strike a balance between being both relatable and ambitious will resonate with key audiences in the space,” Hennigan said.
“Social media has acted as a catalyst for inclusivity in beauty by amplifying the voices of underrepresented and marginalized groups and is where consumers, especially Gen Z and Millennials, are going to discover such Brands looking to expand and improve DEI efforts, both in terms of ads and product development, can partner with influencers who are members of the community they are targeting to ensure that efforts resonate,” Hennigan continued.
Defining a “diversified beauty brand”
Finally, when asked to define what constitutes a diverse brand, the top three attributes, according to US consumers, include: a brand that creates products for people with different skin/hair types (45%); a brand that creates universal products that everyone can use (38%); and a brand that offers customizable products that can be tailored to each individual’s unique needs (30%), according to Mintel.
When it comes to beauty/skincare ads, 86% of beauty product users are looking for realistic signs of aging. This is followed by 82% seeking racial diversity and 79% seeking people of all genders/identities.
“The push for inclusivity will impact the future of the beauty landscape in two ways: price and diversity,” Hennigan said.
More than a quarter (27%) of beauty product users agree a brand is inclusive if it offers affordable products that most people can buy, she said.
“This suggests that the accessibility of a brand’s products, in terms of affordability, has an impact on consumers’ perception of the degree of brand inclusion. When it comes to diversity, 45% of consumers describe a diverse beauty brand as one that “creates products for people with different skin/hair types.” This suggests that brands that develop products that everyone can enjoy while maintaining accessible prices are in the best position to be seen as ‘inclusive’,” Hennigan concluded.