NPD: Beauty youth market shows signs of stabilization


PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Teens’ and tweens’ regular usage of beauty products stabilized in 2011, following evidence in 2009 that the youth beauty consumer was becoming less engaged in the beauty category overall, according to a recent report by market research company the NPD Group.

Study results showed declines from 2007 to 2009 in the percentage of young consumers regularly using beauty products; however, according to the third installment of "Insight into the Youth Beauty Market" report by the NPD Group, there are some signs of improvement among both female tweens (8 to 12 years) and teens (13 to 17 years).

While the level of engagement in the category today does not appear to be back to pre-recession (2007) levels, the types of products being used have remained consistent with 2009 levels. Lip moisturizers/balms, body moisturizers/lotions and mascara continue to be the top three regularly used products among teens; and lip gloss, body washes/cleansers/gels and lip moisturizers/balms continue to be the top three beauty products regularly used among tweens today.

Average monthly beauty spending estimates among tweens and teens showed moderate increases relative to 2009, another indication that things are improving for young consumers in these age groups, according to NPD. Based on reported spending in the past month, tweens estimated spending an average of $9.80 on beauty products, up 60 cents from 2009 estimates. Likewise, teens report spending an average of $13.60 on beauty products in the past month, up from an average of $12.10 in 2009.

The price of beauty products is important to both age groups, and “price consciousness” is the self-image that female consumers in each age group identify with most often. According to NPD, teens appear to be even more concerned about price than tweens, with higher reported mentions of the statement “I am very cost-conscious when it comes to buying beauty products” describing them completely (42% versus 25%, respectively).

Few young beauty consumers report “paying full price” when purchasing beauty products, with two-thirds of teens and about 7-out-of-10 tweens indicating they “look for items that are on sale (66% versus 73%, respectively). Although more teens (37%) report “paying full price” than tweens (25%), the percentage of teens reporting they “pay full price” has been consistently decreasing over time since 2007.

“Far from the fickle and fiscally carefree image most adults associate with tweens and teens, youth consumers continue to be price-conscious and savvy shoppers like their older counterparts. These traits are reflected in their behavior as they continue to look for discount offers and display less willingness to pay full price for beauty products,” stated Karen Grant, VP and senior global industry analyst for the NPD Group.

“However, it’s not only about the lowest price; it’s [also] about what they feel they are getting in return for their money that influences their choices. The overwhelming majority of girls 8 to 12 years old tell us that they look to their parents and siblings to see what beauty products they are using, and that helps them decide what to buy and use. This underscores the importance of brands building strong emotional connections with consumers and staying connected. In some sense, love for beauty products and brands can be thought of as family heirlooms, passed on from generation to generation,” Grant added.

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