{This article is a part of our Around The Internet Series featuring articles from key news sources. Originally published June 2014, Fashion Institute of Technology Capstone Project: Excerpt Only. }

By 2050, “other” will be the largest projected ethnic group in the United States. People aged 65 and older will outnumber the young. The number of gay couples with children, which has already doubled in the past decade, will continue to grow, as will the evolution of new family units as gender roles continue to blur.

As communities expand geographically, travel retail will double by 2020 and grow 5.4% annually over the next 10 years, outpacing the global GDP. What may have been considered the “others” of yesterday will be the majority of tomorrow. This is the reality of the future, and of consumers, and it is not so far away (Pascale, D., & Wendlandt, A. 2013) This changing consumer will have emerging beauty demands that the industry has not  yet seen. The current segmentation model used for targeting beauty consumers does not reflect shoppers’ multi-faceted, multi-ethnic, and diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. This in turn limits customer recruitment and retention opportunities for brands.

By implementing a more dynamic approach to consumer insights, brands and retailers will be able to engage with the evolving beauty consumer in a more relevant and authentic way. The winning companies will be those that create the strongest connection to the consumer and deliver the most relevant content.

Despite vast diversity amongst consumers of today and consumers of the future, there exist common threads for consumer understanding that brands can utilize to remain relevant and authentic.

Demographic data such as race, age, sex, and geography can only reveal one dimension of a person’s overall fluid identity. In order to truly engage with the multi-faceted and dynamic consumer, companies need to reach them on a deeper level.

By removing the terms race, age, sex, and geography from brand vocabulary in place of a spectrum of culture, generation, gender, and community, the beauty industry can become the leader in nderstanding and engaging the new consumer. People who look like “others” today will in fact define the beauty ideals of tomorrow.

Brands have the opportunity to leverage existing products by evolving the strategy to focus on cultural values, shared interests, or common aspirations to engage the new beauty consumer in a meaningful and lasting way.

The beauty industry, looking to engage the evolving beauty consumer, must acknowledge that “others” are the ones who will drive society forward and in the end, “others” will make or break the bottom line.

The reality is fast approaching when a new shade will, in fact, be born every day, and the beauty industry is at a critical tipping point to embrace this evolving new consumer.

{Authors: Roshini Greenwald (L’Oréal), group leader; Jacquelyne Smerklo (Givaudan), co-leader; Gayathri Balasundar (IFF); Kimberly Lam (Estée Lauder Companies); Deanna Spence (Bath and Body Works); Brenna Stone (L’Oréal)}


{Image: mystyleandgrace.com}

1938 is the online magazine blog for Well-Kept Beauty, formally entitled Primer.

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