Generation Z (those born between 1996 and 2010) is described as the activist generation - think about Malala Yousafzai or Greta Thunberg. These individuals are digital-natives, meaning they have never experienced a world without computers, and online communication is a given for them. They use social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat to fight for what they believe is right and to try to change the world they live in. They also are a generation facing many challenges and stress is experienced from a very young age. So as a coping mechanism they try to find comfort in activities that are fun (TikTok dances and other challenges), and sometimes nostalgic of happier times (ie : video gaming comeback).
These specificities can also be found in the way they consume. Gen Z individuals want to see themselves in brands they buy but not only in an image, appearance way. Young buyers also want to see their conviction and social beliefs reflected in the products they purchase all the while seeking fun, and socially-shareable products. This is true in the beauty industry as well and many brands have adapted. They offer products that are conscious, with fun packaging and perfect to share on social media. Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these aspects.
#1 CONSCIOUS - Being so engaged themselves, Gen Z individuals require the same from brands they like and buy from. It is now more expected than ever for brands to show what they stand for. Let it be on diversity, sustainability, animal protection or any other form of engagement that goes beyond the brand itself, what matters is to be conscious and involved. Many brands, new and old, now offer vegan products and work hard to offer sustainable solutions for their packaging. However what consumers truly want is not for a brand to be perfect but to be honest about where it’s at. It is ok to say your products are not 100% clean but to thrive to achieve that goal, to aim to be sustainable but to admit still being searching for the right solution, to explain steps taken to have more diversity in your company while acknowledging not being there yet. Good intentions (and the actions that go with them) are more appreciated than big, empty claims.
#2 FUN - Gen Z loves collaborations and limited edition products. For instance, US brand Colourpop is launching new makeup lines very frequently in partnership with other brands. The latest one is with the very popular Nintendo game Animal Crossing. The just-dropped collaboration features a collection of themed tinted lip balms, pinky powder blush compacts, glimmering pots of glitter jelly, and whimsical eyeshadow palettes. Big beauty retailers also focus on offering fun designed items. Ulta Beauty made a selection of “throwback” gift sets for the holiday gifting season including some of the most popular products of the late 90s’ and early 2000s. These include a sparkly Caboodles case full of makeup, a small backpack with Lancôme’s recently revived Juicy Tubes lip gloss and a Lip Smacker gift set in a package that looks like a boom box.
#3 SOCIAL - As digital-natives, Gen Z individuals love to share on social media. When they create makeup looks or experiment new trends, the process and results are often, live-streamed or recorded and shared. For example, faux-freckles have been around for a few years now but it has recently been revived by social networks where two faux freckle hacks went viral on TikTok and Instagram : Henna Freckles and Fake Tan Freckles. While these videos are all about hijacking a product from its original usage to make it work for this trend, brands have also come up with products especially dedicated to create faux freckles – pencil, tint and even patches ! This shows how brands can offer products that are ‘social-media ready’ by following, or if even better anticipating trends, and releasing new, innovative products quickly.
Brands who wishes to appeal to Gen Z consumers must take into consideration how they deliver value that goes beyond the product use itself all the while practicing what they preach when they address marketing issues and work ethics.
WeOutWow is a trend and prospective agency based in Paris and Tokyo. Our team help brands get inspired and find new ideas in products, design, retail and digital.
For that, we create inspirational booster books that are curated, concise, educational and fun. They read like glossy magazines but also contain actionable business advice. They are covering not only product launches but also events, retail design, digital initiatives, and customer experiences across different countries (Japan, UAE, Korea, US, Australia, and more).
We also offer product shopping in Europe and Asia, online prospective presentations, bespoke books and personalized consulting services.