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Three women representing three expanding key demographics for the beauty industry — the Baby-Xers, Latina women and the young digerati — shared their insights during a panel about the ever-evolving U.S. market. The roundtable discussion, led by Beauty Inc. editor Jenny B. Fine, included Lesley Jane Seymour, the editor in chief of More magazine; Graciela Eleta, senior vice president of Univision, and Eva Chen, the health and beauty director of Teen Vogue.
This story first appeared in the June 1, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We have an emerging nation within our nation right here in our backyard, which is the U.S. Latino market,” said Eleta, who added that within the next five years, 35 percent of all growth in beauty and personal care in the U.S. is expected to come from Latinas. “This consumer is beauty obsessed.”
Another burgeoning beauty-craving demographic, created as a result of the increased blending of Gen-X and younger Baby Boomer consumers, is one Seymour dubbed Baby-X.
“You have to think of J.Lo, Chelsea Handler, this is a huge market and it’s 106 million strong,” said Seymour. “We have the highest household income, we are in the center of the workforce.”
Seymour continued, “Life expectancy is getting longer and longer. It’s a whole market that people have just forgotten about.”
For the young digerati generation, according to Chen, beauty is similarly integral — and attainable — making it a group to watch.
“I would challenge you to go to Neiman Marcus, go to Barneys New York, go after school on a Friday, it’s teenagers and it’s young people with way more than they should have because they don’t have jobs,” said Chen. “But they’re spending their parents’ money.”
Digital — and how it is affecting each up-and-coming demographic — was another topic discussed by the panel.
“Our readers live and breathe the Internet,” said Chen, who added that they spend an average of nine hours a day on Facebook. “We’re looking at a point in time when teens and youth in general can influence the larger masses.”
To wit, Chen said 91 percent of Teen Vogue readers use the phone while shopping and that about 80 percent sleep with their cell phones “literally either under their pillow or right next to them.”
When asked about emerging social media platforms like Pinterest, Vidi and Tumblr, Chen urged beauty brands to get involved.
“Our readers are living online and if you’re not on it, you are missing out on the conversation,” said Chen, who also noted the trepidation many brands have about immersing themselves in the digital space. “You’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, you’re afraid of the backlash or scandal. You only need to look at [Anthony] Weiner to understand that Twitter is not always a good tool.”
According to Eleta, Latinas are also extremely plugged into digital.
“I’d say that Latinas were the original social media fans,” said Eleta. “It’s no surprise today with a Latina population being 10 years younger, that we over index on so many of the social platforms, including mobile phones, smartphones and all of the new platforms.”
Added Seymour, “Our ladies are the fastest-growing group on Facebook.”