Reaching Millennial Consumers

Written by: | November 6, 2017 | 4 responses

Millennial consumers are reshaping beauty, philanthropy, and consumer spending. These digital natives have massive spending power, estimated at $200B in the US alone by the end of 2017.  By the end of 2018, millennials will have the strongest buying power of any generation in the United States.  And, they have different criteria for their choices, chief among them is an intense desire to do good.  They are passionate about their own values and the values of the companies and non-profits they engage with. Although very loyal to brands, their loyalty is based on personalized experiences, social media engagement, and to the values of the brands they buy.

Building a Loyal Millennial Customer Base

Connected Community
Millennials are a connected, social generation. Growing up with the rise of social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, millennials build and engage with their community through technology as well as face-to-face.  Text, FaceTime, Messenger, SnapChat are all tools millennials use to instantly connect– and stay connected– to their community.  This includes the brands they follow and shop with. In fact, social media plays a major role in the purchase behavior of millennials, with  62% saying that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer.

In a 2017 study, Millennials and Gen Z shoppers site a personalized experience across channels, and surprisingly, loyalty and reward programs as playing a huge part in their buying decision.

Further, loyalty programs provide a competitive advantage with (64%) of both GenZ and millennials drawn to a brand if there is a loyalty program or incentive. Further, almost 40% of GenZ ranked playing games as their preferred way of earning points as part of a loyalty program. GenZ are also almost 50% more likely than millennials to write a review for a brand in exchange for points. – Laure Fullerton, The Drum

A recent study shows that while 41% of millennials use Facebook every day, as a generation, they don’t use Facebook for their buying decisions.

In a recent survey41% of millennials still use Facebook every day, however, Facebook was found to be more popular with non-millennials. Every other measured social media platform (YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn) was found to be more popular with millennials than non-millennials. – Lauren Freedman, Forbes Magazine

What you can do:  Use social media analytics to discover where your customers, and those people like your customers, are engaging. Build a social media presence that invites millennials to connect with your brand. Invite them to share pictures and stories, hold contests, ask for feedback on new products, and be sure to answer when they reach out to you.

Group Shopping

Millennials are a bit of a pack generation. They eat, shop, travel, movie-go, explore, volunteer, and socialize in groups.  They write reviews on Yelp and Open Table and dive into Amazon reviews before making purchases.  (Also good to know is that Gen Zs are more likely to write reviews in exchange for rewards points. )

A shopping habit that sets millennials apart from nonmillennials is their tendency to shop in groups and seek the opinions of others,” says marketer Jeff Fromm. More than two-thirds of millennials, according to Fromm’s research, “don’t make a major decision until they have discussed it with a few people they trust,” compared to around half of all nonmillennials.

What you can do:  Create marketing programs that drive customer reviews on your website and on review sites like Yelp, Google Shopping, or Beauty Brands.  Use Instagram and Pinterest to drive conversation about your brand and products. If you have an in-store presence, you might consider a short campaign like Starbucks is doing for the holidays, it’s their Buy One Give One, which invites consumers to come in and grab a drink together.

Values, Values, Values

In the natural and organic skincare market, our consumers are values-driven. They want to know the products they put on their body are responsibly sourced, sustainable, healthy, and manufactured without harm to animals or the environment.  They also want to do good with their dollars.  This is especially true for the coveted millennials who are loyal to causes rather than brands.

Despite the plethora of negative myths and stigmas surrounding the millennial generation, they are a group of consumers set on making a difference in the world around them. “Add good” has been their mantra as they utilize newfound ways to give back. Rather than making random or one-off donations, they are a generation characterized by integrating the causes they care about into their daily routines and purchase behaviors. – Jeff Fromm, Forbes

Millennials are willing to put their money where their values are and will spend more on products they believe fit their values.  Millennials collaborate with others, they share, engage, and thrive in community and so when they make decisions, their entire community will know about it, often in near-real time.  By showing your commitment to your values, you’ll be able to connect with millennials who value the same things.

More millennials than non-millennials integrate their beliefs and causes into their choice of companies to support, their purchases and their day-to-day interactions. More than 50% of millennials make an effort to buy products from companies that support the causes they care about, according to research from Barkley, an independent advertising agency. And they’re twice as likely to care about whether or not their food is organic than are their non-millennial counterparts, according to Boston Consulting Group. When you consider how money-strapped many millennials remain, their willingness to put a premium on such issues is striking. — Micah Solomon, Forbes

What you can do: As an independent beauty brand, you have the power to put your personal values front and center. Share openly about the decision-making process for ingredients, vendors, packaging and if you can, including the sustainability activities of your manufacturer.   Offering a % back to non-profits, or running a buy one/give one campaign that gives products to homeless shelters, battered women’s organizations, etc., with each product sold. Or position your brand as supporting the beauty in everyone regardless of age, size, or traditional beauty expectations.

Self Expression 

Millennials use social media to express themselves in all aspects of their lives: food, adventure, romance, books, movies, beauty, and fashion. They embrace the adage “let me be me” and are not afraid to let everyone know.  As you create products and shopping experiences to reach this audience, you’ll want to be thinking about how to individualize the experience and speak to the person, not the ‘millennial’.  The trends this group of people creates are just that, trends, and you’ll want to be thoughtful about how you go after this market segment so that you don’t appear to be lumping them into a single hive mind group.

One other interesting trend about this generation is that they collaborate and socialize with their parents.  And this influences the Baby Boomers to have a little more of that millennial spirit as they pick up technology and social media engagement as a way to stay current and engaged with their young adults.

Final thought:

“Beauty standards and imagery have been so rigid for so long that it’s no surprise to me that there is such a wide audience for our approach to self-expression,” Greville explains over email. “Now more than ever, as the spectrum of individuality becomes more visible in the world, we need to respect the fact that we are all unique and can’t presume anything about one another.” –

Does your beauty brand reach millennials? What channels do you find work best?


There are 4 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.