Beautiful Hair for Mature Generation, A Gap for Business Opportunity
Regardless of age and gender, vanity is a trait of the human race. The drive to appear beautiful – however you want to define your own personal beauty – exists inherently. However the beauty industry seems to be wholly focused on the youth and the people currently active in the work force, while the needs of the more mature consumer who are enjoying the days of their retirement are being sadly overshadowed. There are still not many products that cater to the needs of the more mature audience especially in the hair industry, while actually the exploration of beauty is not restricted by an age bracket and and the existing market of the aging consumer will only grow with time, as the world approaches the gates of an ‘aging population’.
According to the data from WHO in 2015, Asia contributes to about 58% of the global older population with 508 million people aged 60 years or over. Similar figures are reported in Europe and North America (WHO, 2015), hinting at a currently generally untapped market for the beauty industry to explore.
While beauty needs for the aging consumer continuously exist, beauty industry players seem to take said market for granted, as illustrated by how monotonous the available beauty products have become, with most products only revolve around “anti-aging” and “gray hair coverage” for the hair care industry. The question posed is: is that the extent of the needs of the more mature audience, and what else can the beauty industry offer to them?
Before determining what their actual needs are, knowing the characteristics of beauty for this generation is essential. A Euromonitor Editor Karla Render on one of her online articles attached a survey result conducted by Euromonitor in 2015 regarding “Global Average Time Spent on Daily Grooming Routine” states that among all 4 generations that are currently populating the world, Baby Boomers, followed by Generation X, spend the least time on hair care, skin care, and makeup application. This hints that the older generations prefer simplicity over complexity despite current trends which promotes increasingly complicated beauty regimes. In short, they want to feel confident in order to appreciate themselves as being beautiful, but they do not want to complicate existing routines to achieve it.
Spotting gaps in the market, certain countries have opened their eyes to this challenge and has seized the opportunity to create innovative new ways to grab the attention of a rapidly growing market which finds itself pigeonholed as being uninterested in the beauty industry. Being the country with the the highest aging population, Japan seems to have mastered its way to attract its senior citizens to engage in the euphoria of the current ever expanding beauty industry. More cosmetic lines for mature women which offer anti aging properties along with specific shades for their color cosmetic products can increasingly be found in the Japanese beauty industry (Mintel, 2015). The report even shows that some companies had even started their own lines for hair products especially targeting the more mature audiences.
Now knowing their characteristics, how can we actually touch this market in the hair industry? Addressing their hair condition, the kind of hair idealized by mature people is volumized hair with beautiful color that boosts confidence, referring to their two most common problems; gray hair, and the related problems of hair fall and thinning hair. The first problem is the most common one. As the natural color of human hair depends on pigmentation and melanin, the reduction of melanin that comes with age will lead to hair turning gray and eventually white. This issue is still commonly solved by hair coloring which also works to boost confidence by choosing vibrant colors to mask the aging process.
As important as the issue of hair color can be, hair fall and thinning hair which are actually viewed as related problems that might require extra attention from the beauty manufacturers are rarely addressed with solutions that offer instantaneous results. While, hair tonic application has long been the solution to this problem, the way it works is a process which is actually more targeted for a long-term treatment, and does not address the immediate concern of, “how do I mask my hair fall problem while waiting on the results of my hair tonic application?”
What about when someone wants instant volumized hair?
Noting at how the mature generation does not spend much time on daily beauty routine, doing hair styling before starting a day might not be the most attractive or practical solution for the generations which focuses on practicality. The key point to focus on falls under the availability of a more permanent solution which is able to enhance appearance but is not time-consuming, and this point should always be supported by ingredients that are safe to use by the older people.
The silver lining is that volumizing support for a more mature audience is a business area that is not yet over saturated with innovative beauty products, and it certainly is a huge opportunity to explore. This is supported by Mintel as they mentioned how “brands could advertise ability to add volume or address thinning hair” (Mintel Insight: Key Themes and Innovation in the Hair Colourants Market, 2016) when talking about appealing marketing beyond the promise of gray coverage for older consumers. One of the rare existing product that address long-lasting volumized hair for a mature audience is the EXO Volumizer by Makarizo which promotes hair volume directly from the roots and is safe even for even people in their 60s. The appearance of volumized hair can be achieved with one fuss-free process, which offers a different take on beauty; not by covering up the aging process but by boosting confidence and offering a solution on how to enhance one’s looks.
Looking to the future, by 2030, the number of the older population in Asia is predicted to gradually incline up to 1200 million people (WHO, 2015). The number itself is an eye-opener that a very huge crowd of people is waiting to be reached, with the current status being a very fresh untouched market thanks to the spotlight currently taken by the youth and the working age. As the future world becomes more populated by the aging consumer, it is not impossible for the beauty industry to split their innovative thinking to create beauty trends which cater specifically to the older population.