How Millennials Buy Beauty (Survey)




It’s no secret that the lifestyles of millennial women are different from their mothers’ in nearly every way, including their beauty habits. Now ranging in age from approximately 18 to 34 years old, millennials are beginning to flex their purchasing-power muscles, leaving brands of all types to figure out how best to appeal to these notoriously fickle consumers. The new Women 2020 study from Meredith Corporation, an American media and marketing services company, sheds light on the ways their preferences differ from generations past by comparing the beauty shopping habits of millennials with those of baby boomers (50 to 67 years old). 

The study, conducted online by Insights in Marketing for Meredith, surveyed more than 2,600 women ages 18 to 67 last fall. It found that before hitting stores, millennial women will go online to compare beauty products, search for reviews, find coupons, look for sales and create a shopping list—engaging in these behaviours much more commonly than boomers. Millennials will also do these things while in stores, as well as watching how-to videos and paying with a mobile app (this truly is a generation of multi-taskers).

The good news is that millennial women are really into cosmetics: Approximately 80 percent of those surveyed said they think about, research and discuss beauty. The data also revealed which celebrities most inspire millennials, with Jennifer Lawrence (the face of Dior Addict), Taylor Swift (a former CoverGirl) and Beyoncé (who has graced ads for L’Oréal Paris) ranking as the top three stars representing the values of Generation Y. 

Here, some of the study’s key insights into how millennials and boomers differ in their beauty-shopping attitudes and behaviours (percentages reflect how many respondents agreed with each statement):


Looking beautiful/sexy is important to me

I frequently recommend products to others


I don’t mind spending more if it fits my needs

I find brands I trust and stick with them


I will reward myself with a beauty indulgence

I buy based on price


I try products based on recommendations

I buy when I have a coupon


I watch how-to videos online while shopping

I look online to create a shopping list


I look online for sales before going shopping

I search for reviews online while shopping


I compare prices online before going shopping

I try online in-store promotions while shopping