ESW study stresses how Millennial and Gen Z’s curiosity is determined by value

By Cassandra Stern and Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

© Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images
© Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

Related tags millennials Gen Z Consumer trends

A recent study by DTC ecommerce data company ESW stresses how Millennial and Gen Z consumers are willing to explore international destinations, but will still stop short if the price tag is considered to be too high or a brand is not being truly authentic.

CosmeticsDesign-USA (CDU) spoke to ESW’s VP of Sales, Beauty, Wellness & Lifestyle Brands, Clarissa Schealer (CS), who shared some of the insights from its Global Voices Consumer survey, which posed questions to consumers in 16 countries to determine what measures beauty consumers will go to in order to stretch their spend.

CDU: What is the potential impact of these findings on global manufacturers and suppliers to the cosmetics and personal beauty care industries?  

CS: Gen Z and Millennial shoppers are savvy. They are not afraid to shop cross-border to get quality products at a reasonable price. Just like the generations before, today’s consumers shop across brands, having everything from drug store mascara to luxury lipsticks and fragrances in their bag. However, these shoppers now make purchases across regions – they may go to Korea for skincare, France for their lipstick and the U.S. for their glowy blush. They aren’t afraid to pay a higher price for something scarce or special but are willing to wait for deals on certain products. 

Consumers also demand and value authenticity, whether it is sticking to what your brand is most known for, making sure that the products are clean, that you have sustainable and inclusive business practices, or that you simply speak to your consumers in their preferred language. It’s clear that shoppers will pick and choose products rather than be loyal to a brand, so authenticity of some form or the other is the universal why for shoppers. 

CDU: Was the study able to determine any reasons behind why consumers of these demographics were more likely to wait and risk losing out on a purchase in favor of purchasing at a better price​?

CS: While our study didn’t delve into the why, we know that shoppers today are very knowledgeable and extremely aware. They know that they have many different options and no longer have to settle.  They can just as easily shop around the world from their couches as they can from their corner store.

CDU: What are some ways that brands can overcome the price sensitivities seen by consumers in these purchasing demographics? 

CS: Offering kits and bundles to shoppers is a great strategy to not only give value but to also increase AOV and basket size. Brands can also offer gifts with purchase or free shipping as great value adds. And to increase profit margin, brands can set different qualifying price points by region for these offers. Additionally, offering exclusive, gated access to sales is another way to reward your best shoppers or attract new shoppers in new markets. 

CDU: How can brands leverage the finding that these consumer demographics are more likely to purchase internationally into their branding and marketing strategies? 

CS: Brands should make sure that they are using local language in their SEO and performance marketing efforts to help shoppers find them. For example, if you are selling lipstick in Australia, you’ll want to optimize your SEO by using the search term “lippie” because that’s what many Aussie shoppers search for when looking for a lipstick. Or if you open a store in Japan, you wouldn’t hire staff who only spoke English or only accept USD for payment.

Unfortunately, so many brands are doing just that in their ecommerce experience. If you want shoppers to find you, you must first market to them in their own language, and make sure there is a seamless path to purchase using the payment methods that those customers use in their home country every day.  

CDU: Does this data reveal any unique challenges facing brands today regarding marketing cosmetics and personal beauty care products to these demographics? If so, what are those challenges and what are some ways those challenges can potentially be addressed?  

CS: Your best shoppers, your brand fans, might be anywhere in the world. Thanks to social media, information has no borders and now, it’s more important than ever that your shopping experience doesn’t either. You want to make sure that no matter where a shopper lives, they can purchase with local payment methods, in their local currency, with speedy shipment - all with no surprises. And if Aussies can find your lipstick by typing “lippie”, even better.


Report methodology: ESW’s latest Global Voices consumer survey was conducted in November 2022 in 16 countries (Canada, the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, India, China, South Korea, Japan, and Australia) with 16,557 people responding. In this report Gen Z is defined as those between 18 and 24; Millennials as those ages 25-40; Gen X as those ages 41-56; and Baby Boomers defined as those ages 57-75.

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