Gen Alphas flood the beauty aisle in search of premium brands

The insight: Gen Alpha’s interest in skincare is fueling prestige beauty sales. Consumers aged 45 to 54 with households containing children under the age of 18 accounted for a growing share of prestige skincare sales in 2023, according to receipt data analyzed by Circana.

  • Overall, prestige beauty dollar sales rose 14% year-over-year (YoY) in 2023 to $31.7 billion, with growth in every category (makeup, skincare, fragrance, hair) outpacing the mass market.

Unpacking the trend: The ubiquity of skinfluencers and skincare content on social media is creating new generations of highly savvy beauty consumers, many of whom prefer the premium brands found on Sephora’s shelves to old-school drugstore mainstays.

  • Sephora and other beauty retailers are fast becoming popular hangouts for teens and tweens, in part because they offer the opportunity to test products in person and receive tips from store employees—but also because most shoppers of that age lack the means to purchase beauty products online.
  • Younger consumers are gravitating toward brands that are not only aesthetically pleasing, like Drunk Elephant with its colorful, streamlined packaging, but that also feature high-quality ingredients known to deliver results (although whether tweens can—or need to—see results from anti-aging serums is a question beyond the scope of this Briefing).

The big picture: While Gen Alpha’s buying power is very much constrained by how much their parents are willing to spend, their influence is growing. Over $5.39 trillion will be spent on the cohort by the end of this year, according to research by Mark McCrindle cited by Harvard Business Review.

  • Average teen spending on beauty is also on the rise, growing 23% YoY in fall 2023, per the latest edition of Piper Sandler’s teen survey.
  • While younger consumers may not yet have the budget to fully indulge their yen for beauty, brands can capitalize on interest by revamping packaging to appeal to their sensibilities, updating messaging so that it’s easy to understand but still fun, and offering mini versions of products as a lower-priced entry point.

First Published on Jan 31, 2024