Kendall Jenner for Estée Lauder. (Photo: Instagram)
Ever since Kendall Jenner became the face of Estée Lauder, and YouTube beauty gurus like Bethany Mota began leading an online community of young, and knowledgeable, beauty junkies, media has been reporting on how millennial women (ages 18 to 34) are taking over the beauty industry. But now there’s evidence to back up the claim. A new study from the TABS Group finds that young women are the heaviest buyers of cosmetics in the $13 billion industry, with 47 percent buying more than 10 products every year.
“Unlike the majority of consumer packaged goods, where women 35 to 54 years old are the core target market, millennials really do matter in cosmetics,” Kurt Jetta, CEO and founder of the TABS Group, said in a press release. Unfortunately for beauty brands who have relied on legacy and reputation for generations, millennials are not interested in brand loyalty. The average buyer purchases more than five brands per year, forcing brands to stay on top of the latest social media-driven trends, like contouring, blurring and strobing.
According to the study, eye, lip, and gift sets sales have increased by 30 percent over 2014, making the success of Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kit no surprise. Young women are more interested in experimenting with color cosmetics on their own, as MAC Cosmetics and Urban Decay are encroaching on the same demographics as Clinique and Estée Lauder.
YouTube haul videos and tutorials are not just excuses to procrastinate— they have real implications in the beauty industry. 29 percent of heavy buyers told TABS that blogs were influential in making purchasing decisions. 28 percent of heavy buyers also noted that YouTube videos were “very important.” Interestingly, across all buyers (not just those who buy at least 10 products a year), blogs and YouTube are only important to 16 percent of millennial female buyers. Even the White House understands the resonance of YouTube beauty vloggers — in January 2015, Bethany Mota interviewed President Obama.
“That was mind blowing,“ Mota told Yahoo Beauty editor in chief Bobbi Brown in November 2015. When she was approached by the White House about the interview, she responded, “Are you sure?” Now, however, Mota and other beauty bloggers, have the numbers to prove that they’re driving millennial decisions.