Deep Dive: Gen Z and Beauty—the Social Media Symbiosis

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Key Points

This report is part of our new series, The New Beauty Consumer, which looks at various aspects of beauty retailing and consumption.

  • Gen Z is the first generation to use social media in their formative years, and it is pressuring teens to look good. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, nearly one-third of US teen girls feel bad when comparing themselves with others they see on social media, and other studies have found links between social media usage and low self-esteem.
  • We think these kinds of pressures will drive up spending on beauty products and services and fitness services. US teens are already growing their spending on beauty; the category’s share of spending among upper-income female teens grew to its highest level ever in fall 2016.
  • When shopping for beauty products, young consumers turn to social media, and especially video content, for advice. The volume of beauty content on YouTube rocketed by 200% between 2015 and 2016, and female consumers ages 13–24 make up fully 47% of the audience for these videos.
  • Gen Z’s oldest members are on the cusp of adulthood, and we expect this generation’s demands to be a factor in future beauty industry mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Large, established multibrand companies are likely to acquire beauty brands that resonate with Gen Zers as the generation’s spending power accelerates.

This report is part of our new series, The New Beauty Consumer, which looks at various aspects of beauty retailing and consumption.

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