Recently, my mother broke both of her wrists and had casts from her hands to her elbows for two months. One of her main concerns was her nightly ritual of potions and lotions that my step-father was relegated to slathering on for her. Not only does she have a specific order for how to apply each of the creams, but she prefers to smooth them on in an upward motion because she would like her skin to be “lifted.”
There is a marked difference between my mother’s generation and the current gen-du-jour. My mother didn’t think about age spots or sun damage until she saw it on her skin. My 17-year old cousin, however, has never spent a day in her life without sunscreen. The transition from solution-oriented to preventative, like the shift in overall skincare, was slow and then sudden.
The question we are currently facing is: how can consumers and brands get on the same page? Industries and franchises have been built on the solution-oriented approach to aging. They have centered their personae on the premise of plumping wrinkles and lifting sagging skin. Based on NPD data, the age specialist subsegment is responsible for nearly 10 percent of total U.S. prestige skincare sales, and represents 15 percent of the facial skincare market. Age specialist declined throughout 2016 and this trend continued into the first quarter of 2017. While other subsegments like facial moisturizer have made a turnaround, age specialist still hasn’t been able to make any traction in the market and posted a $4 million decline so far in 2017.
The U.S. anti-aging market is at its tipping point. The skincare industry must strike a balance between the older consumers who are looking for skincare experts to tell them how to correct their issues, with the younger consumers who would like to understand each ingredient on the label and the reason for it being included. Younger consumers are also more likely to look at skincare as part of their wellness routine, complete with anti-aging supplements that include ingredients like collagen and hyaluronic acid.
This fundamental shift in thinking has already happened; it’s the brands that need to catch up.