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Generation Alpha’s Impact on Beauty and Skincare 

Currently the youngest demographic, Generation Alpha is becoming an increasingly more important customer base for the beauty industry to target. Gen Alpha consists of those born between 2010 and 2024 and is projected to consist of at least 2 billion individuals. This generation’s ties to digital media and technology are more powerful than any other, which is key for forward-looking companies navigating today’s landscape. So, how will Gen Alpha impact beauty and skincare?

Below, we discuss the defining characteristics of Gen Alpha, how to approach marketing to them, and the impact they will have on the beauty and skincare industries. 

Gen Alpha vs. Other Generations 

Even more so than Gen Z, which consists of individuals born between 1995 and 2010, Gen Alpha is plugged into digital media. Whether this means easier access to tablets, laptops, or smartphones, these young individuals are able to consume information without much supervision or effort. While there’s some debate whether this is entirely positive, it certainly means that Gen Alpha has much more agency over their content. 

As opposed to Gen Z or Millennials, Gen Alpha was basically born with an iPad in hand. This often means that brands, influencers, and content creators can exert direct influence over what a massive generation will come to value. From climate change to improving tech, these younger individuals are exposed to topics that traditionally have not been touched until much older ages. One result of this is that brands can anticipate these trends and adapt to develop early brand loyalty. Those that prioritize sustainability, social justice, and health can cut an edge that simply wasn’t possible with earlier generations.  

The power of influencers and content creators is also unique to Gen Alpha. Individuals like Ryan Kaji, the 10-year-old star of his family’s YouTube channel Ryan’s World, directly target kids. His channel focuses on toy reviews and family-friendly entertainment and has racked up more than 34 million subscribers. For the first time ever, media consumption can be controlled directly by those under age 13, with some of it even coming from their own peers. 

Gen Alpha’s Impact on Beauty and Skincare  

Roughly 68% of a combined Gen Z and Alpha reportedly have a skincare routine and even more already use color cosmetics. This is seriously important for a demographic that will soon represent over 20% of the population. 

Generation Alpha loves to follow the rapidly changing beauty trends of their favorite influencers. For example, over 50% of children between 6 and 16 want to buy a product used by an online content creator or influencer. This can lead to fads for children like complex skincare regimens, looking older than they are through makeup, and dressing more closely to resemble Gen Z and millennial influencers. It’s important to recognize that this generation is not simply mimicking their parents, but rather using skincare and beauty products to truly create their own routines. 

Having been exposed to social media early, Gen Alpha is relatively more image-conscious than older generations. This means that the beauty industry can expect demand from a demographic that prioritizes new trends to remain up to date. It also means that they are far more exposed to trends and marketing content, which can speed up demand timelines for new products. 

Companies like Glossier are already utilizing micro-influencers and leaning into areas that Gen Alpha values. For example, utilizing content creators with a diversity of backgrounds and body types, emphasizing sustainability, and promoting inclusivity. By marketing early, brands can develop lifelong customers who possess immense spending power.  

Estée Lauder’s marketing campaigns provide excellent contrast between Gen Alpha and previous generations. In 2016, they launched a millennial focused lineup with more than 80 products. Now, the company’s latest campaign for Gen Z and Gen Alpha included only three and was launched on TikTok. Clearly, the emphasis has shifted toward fewer selections that are advertised directly on social media. This may speak to the ever-shrinking attention span of children and how it influences what they value. 

Finally, the development of beauty and skincare technology will continue to impact buying decisions. Applications or augmented reality that can display an individual’s face with products applied, for example, are one way to convince online shoppers to make the purchase. Another example is utilizing AI to provide customized products for clients based on a short survey. 

Marketing to Gen Alpha 

Clearly, technology and digital media are tremendously important for reaching Generation Alpha. Marketing channels like YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok provide pipelines straight into the hands of kids who already influence $500 billion in annual spending. Since much of Gen Alpha does not yet have discretionary income, these advertisements should also appeal to the actual “purchaser”–namely parents or grandparents. 

Brands may consider recruiting micro-influencers who are often within Gen Alpha or Gen Z themselves. These individuals have under 100,000 followers but are immensely powerful within their niche. This is often because their content is often more engaging, relatable, and intimate than that of traditional celebrities.  

There are also more frontier digital channels that brands may want to explore for establishing virtual connections. Once such pathway is through marketing in the metaverse. This may mean within popular video games like Roblox or in non-gamified virtual worlds. Regardless of how the metaverse develops, it certainly will continue to open new means of access and data collection for businesses.  

Finally, businesses that plan a return to in-person shopping should consider the experiential nature of online shopping. Its ease and customizability is essentially the norm for this generation. Thus, it’s more difficult for brick-and-mortar retailers to attract Gen Alpha. Consequently, in-person retail will need to either be marketed differently or provide personalized experiences that online shopping can’t replicate.  

Looking Ahead with Gen Alpha 

Ultimately, firms in the beauty industry that anticipate the values of Generation Alpha can capture their significant buying power. Realizing the power of technology and digital media for this upcoming demographic is tremendously important. Those that utilize digital marketing toward Gen Alpha can build customer bases early and retain them for years.  

For more on emerging trends or topics in the health and beauty space, connect with our team today. 

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Contributions from Jake Park-Walters

Tags: Holistic Marketing Alignment, Sales and Marketing Technology, Sustainability, Digital Strategy, Customer Experience, User Experience