Although image-consciousness is a trait traditionally associated with women and young adults, men and older generations are becoming more susceptible to its influence, as their desire to impress peers and colleagues is growing. This is according to consumer insight firm, Canadean.
The company’s report states that society’s increasingly visually oriented culture often means consumers associate ‘image’ with success. While women are 1.3 times more likely than men to feel under pressure to look good, both genders associate a good appearance with success in personal and professional lives. A total of 66 percent of women and 61 percent of men subscribe to this belief.
The belief that image correlates with success is strong across all age groups, with over half of consumers agreeing. Young adults aged 16 to 24 years old, however, are likely to be most influenced by this notion, with 65 percent agreeing, decreasing to 60 percent among those aged 55 and over.
According to Veronika Zhupanova, analyst for Canadean: ‘This trend reflects how image-consciousness is catching up with men and baby boomers, demonstrating narrowing gender and age disparities in the beauty market.’
The increasing number of occasions when men use skin care products demonstrates this trend. For example, among major global economies, men used skin care products on 453 billion occasions in 2011, which shot up to 557 billion occasions in 2015. Meanwhile, as image-conscious consumers age, the desire to maximise appearance among the older generation will increase.
Zhupanova notes: ‘With image-consciousness becoming ever-more pervasive among ageing populations in developed economies and the pension age rising, competition to look good among this demographic will drive demand in categories such as anti-ageing skin care and makeup. This is as consumers seek to impress employers and appear as dynamic as younger colleagues.’
Amongst the young, social media, which is now a popular daily ritual, can be a significant driver of image-consciousness. ‘Selfie’ culture encourages the taking of close-up photographs as a means of self-expression and impressing peers. The close-up nature of the shots, however, means potential for skin imperfections to be captured is high, and may encourage people to seek out products to minimise this.
Zhupanova continues: ‘While there have been a number of launches targeting photo occasions for young adults, such as Estee Lauder’s Flash Photo Powder, older consumers remain overlooked despite increasing social media use. This demographic offers prime opportunities in the makeup and skin care categories to innovate in line with the latest trends, such as the desire to be “photo-ready”. In order to make the most of this opportunity, companies should be subtle in their marketing towards older consumers, emphasising the important role photos have in making memories, for example.’