Boomer women deserve beauty messaging different from millennials

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
July 31, 2017, 2:00 PM GMT+0

67% of women 50 years and older use makeup to highlight their facial features while millennials (59%) think it covers up their imperfections

Traditional broadcast advertising has ceded some ground to online adverts but still hold an edge, in part, due to baby boomer (50-64 years old) viewership. Across fourteen program genres (drama, news, comedy, etc.), American baby boomers dominate ten of those categories. Women who are 50-64 years old watch the most television, and women drive 70-80% of consumer purchasing.

One popular sector among female consumers is skin care products. The beauty industry brings in nearly 62 billion dollars in the US alone and, as the industry shifts towards premium products, it shows no signs of slowing down. Finding the right messaging – one that takes into account female millennials and baby boomers – is a challenge that beauty brands must address if they want to reach the two largest groups of TV watchers through broadcast commercials.

A new YouGov poll found four brands that women in both age groups like. When asked which skin care brands they would consider purchasing, millennials and baby boomers rank Dove, Maybelline, CoverGirl, and Bath & Body Works highest. Millennials would also consider Neutrogena while baby boomers prefer Olay.

These brands are to be the safest options for TV networks to advertise since they have the greatest reach among both age groups.

Where female millennial and baby boomers differ tells a story about their skin care preferences. YouGov measured purchase consideration and found that millennials are likely to buy products from Sephora (26%), MAC (21%), and Lush (16%) at higher rates than baby boomers. Meanwhile, baby boomers are more likely to choose Olay, Revlon, and Maybelline than millennials next time they’re in market.

The difference appears to lie in what these consumers consider premium products. Millennials fuel the trend towards stand-alone, luxury cosmetic stores but baby boomers hold steadfast to globally ranked, high-end products that are also readily available at drug stores.

There are differences in self image too. 67% of women in their 50s use makeup to highlight their features while only 23% of millennials say the same. Conversely, 59% of millennials think that makeup covers up their imperfections, a view that only 27% of female baby boomers also share.