Gen Z and beauty brands: How to leverage Gen Z beauty trends

In an era where Generation Z is becoming an increasingly dominant force in the consumer market, beauty brands face the critical challenge of adapting to this group’s unique preferences and values.

Comprising around 30% of the world’s population, Gen Z’s economic and social influence is undeniable. With their spending power on the rise, set to increase fivefold by 2030 to $33 trillion and account for over a quarter of global income, understanding and engaging this demographic has never been more crucial.

This generation’s preferences are, therefore, shaping the future of beauty. They emphasize the importance of brands innovating and aligning with Gen Z’s ideals of creativity, inclusivity, sustainability, and technological integration.

So, follow along as we delve into Gen Z’s distinctive trends and preferences and outline strategies for success in this new landscape.

The Gen Z consumer profile

➢ Economic influence and digital buying power

On the current horizon, we can talk about several important generations: Gen X, Millenials (Gen Y),  Gen Z, and Gen Alpha. 

Gen Z are those born between the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s, and we’re focusing primarily on them, as they are set to reshape the economic landscape. Projections indicate that by 2025, they’ll surpass their predecessors, Gen X and Y, in the number of US digital buyers.

gen z buying power_Arbelle

When it comes to Generation Alpha, they are the generation to only keep in mind for the time being. This cohort, born or to be born between 2010 and 2025, is only beginning to emerge. However, they represent the next wave of consumers who will build upon these digital and economic foundations.

So, going back to our focus group, Gen Z, they accounted for 1 in 5 people in the US last year, with a growing influence backed by an expected increase in their income. What’s more, as they increasingly enter the workplace, by 2031, Gen Z’s income will account for over a quarter of global income, and their economic power will surpass that of millennials.

In addition, one research shows that Gen Z actually influence their family’s purchasing decisions, as well.

So, this burgeoning financial capability, coupled with their distinct shopping habits and influence, underscores the urgency for beauty brands to tailor their strategies to meet Gen Z’s needs.

➢ Preferred Gen Z beauty brands and market impact

Data from a 2023 survey done by Statista highlights some of the leading Gen Z beauty brand preferences:

And all these choices are very indicative of Gen Z’s inclination toward brands that resonate with their values of authenticity, inclusivity, and social responsibility.

Understanding Gen Z’s beauty ideals

✧ The rise of individuality and inclusivity

Gen Z’s beauty ethos is underpinned by a celebration of diversity and a demand for inclusivity. This generation champions beauty as a realm of self-expression and individuality, rejecting one-size-fits-all standards.

Consequently, market research illuminates this trend, with 80% of Gen Z affirming that “being yourself” is their beauty mantra. For Gen Z beauty brands, this calls for a broad spectrum of product offerings that cater to diverse skin tones, types, and identities.

gen z beauty trends_Arbelle

✧ Sustainability and transparency

Environmental concerns and ethical practices play a significant role in Gen Z’s purchasing decisions. There is a visible shift towards brands that prioritize sustainability, transparency, and ethical sourcing.

Gen Z is not just buying products; they’re investing in brands that align with their values. Thus, for beauty brands, the commitment to these principles is non-negotiable.

gen z beauty trends_sustainability_Arbelle

✧ Digital native shoppers

With 35% of Gen Z spending over four hours a day on social media, digital platforms are their mainstay for discovery, education, and purchase of beauty products. Moreover, their preferences lean towards video content, with platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok being pivotal in their beauty journey.

gen z_digital natives_Arbelle

However, Gen Z’s integration into the digital world transcends mere content consumption. Their tech-savviness extends deeply into the realm of AI and AR. And they’re not just comfortable but eager to exploit these technologies for a more personalized beauty experience. 

While AI enables smarter, tailored experiences through technology that learns and adapts, AR offers a visual and interactive dimension, allowing users to see virtual representations in the real world.

Despite often not realizing it, Gen Z is making significant strides in utilizing AI. They’re interacting with social media filters, for example, on a daily basis, and not even realizing they’re powered by AI. This so-called unconscious engagement highlights AI’s seamless integration into their daily lives, blurring the lines between technology and utility.

Similarly, AR’s potential to enhance the online shopping experience by visually superimposing products onto the user’s environment is becoming increasingly popular among Gen Z consumers.

Moreover, 75% of Gen Z users have lauded AI tools as user-friendly, entertaining, and advantageous, reflecting a profound comfort level with these technologies. And 58% stated the technology helps them make informed purchase decisions.

How beauty brands can adapt and thrive

✧ Embrace AR and AI technologies

In the era of digital-first experiences, Arbelle’s beauty tech and AI/AR solutions are precisely what beauty brands need to connect with Gen Z.

By offering virtual try-ons, inclusive foundation shade finders, personalized product recommendations and similar, brands can provide the engaging, customized experiences Gen Z craves.

For instance, leveraging AR to allow consumers to experiment with makeup products or understand their skin needs better can significantly enhance the online shopping experience, making it interactive and informative.

✧ Foster a culture of inclusivity and sustainability

  • Expand product ranges: Develop extensive product lines that cater to diverse beauty needs, ensuring representation across shades, formulas, and packaging.
  • Sustainability practices: Implement and highlight clean beauty, sustainable manufacturing, packaging solutions, and ethical sourcing to resonate with Gen Z’s environmental ethos.
clean beauty and sustainability_Arbelle

Leverage social media and content marketing

  • Engaging video content: Utilize platforms like TikTok and YouTube to create short-form, engaging content that educates and entertains. From “how-to” tutorials to “day in the life” and sustainability journey videos, the content should feel personal and relatable.
  • Influencer collaborations: Partner with influencers who embody your brand’s values and can authentically communicate your message to their followers. Remember, authenticity is key; Gen Z can spot insincerity from a mile away.

✧ Innovate with personalization

Personalization is not a mere trend but a baseline expectation for Gen Z. Utilize data analytics and AI to offer personalized product recommendations, customized skincare routines, and interactive virtual makeup apps.

Arbelle’s solutions can empower brands to create personalized experiences at scale, ensuring every Gen Z consumer feels understood and valued.

online product recommendation system in beauty_Arbelle

✧ Transparency and education

  • Ingredient transparency: Clearly communicate the ingredients, their sources, and the benefits of your products. Gen Z demands to know what they’re applying to their skin and its impact on their health and the environment.
  • Educational content: Provide value through educational content that empowers Gen Z consumers to make informed decisions. This can range from blog posts on ingredient benefits to tutorials on achieving specific looks or enhancing their natural beauty.

Embrace change and flourish in the Gen Z era 

We’ve seen that Generation Z is making up a significant portion of the global population, and their spending power is set to reshape the economic landscape.

And as they redefine this landscape, and with it the beauty industry, brands equipped with a deep understanding of Gen Z values and preferences will thrive.

By embracing technology, such as Arbelle’s cutting-edge beauty tech and AR solutions, brands can create immersive, personalized experiences that resonate deeply with this generation.

Furthermore, a commitment to sustainability, inclusivity, and authenticity will align brands with Gen Z’s ethos, establishing long-term loyalty and trust.

The future of beauty is here, and it’s inclusive, digital, and personalized – precisely what Gen Z and Arbelle envision for the industry.

For more information on how to align with these trends and technology, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Tap into Gen Z trends with Arbelle

Leverage Arbelle’s beauty AR and AI technology to tap into the increasingly powerful Gen Z consumers and see your brand thrive.