Tweens Are Responsible for Boom in Skincare Sales

A new report suggests Gen Alpha's purchasing power is small but mighty.

Assorted skincare products in clear containers with shadows on a surface
Anna Efetova / Getty Images
Assorted skincare products in clear containers with shadows on a surface

Just when you thought Gen Z was down bad with their skincare habits, it turns out Gen Alpha is trailing behind them.

Despite only representing 26 percent of households, Gen Alpha is accounting for a 49 percent growth in mass skincare, according to Women’s Wear Daily. The outlet suggests that the major growth comes from tweens being drawn to products like cleansers, serums, and masks.

Inflation and a global recession aren’t stopping Gen Alpha from shopping for their favorite products either. While prices have increased by 8 percent in facial skincare, sales are apparently robust, with the category seeing a 9 percent increase in dollar sales and 0.9 percent increase in units sold.

“We’ve traced [momentum] back to this general phenomenon of kids getting into the skin care category more quickly,” said Anna Mayo, vice president of NielsenIQ’s beauty vertical, per WWD. “Beauty consumers are reallocating more of their dollars towards beauty even as they are cutting back in other areas. Dollars continue to grow faster than units, but units are growing—which is positive and not the case for many other categories around the store.”

However, sales of skincare appliances seem to be on the decline. WWD reports a 22.3 percent drop in year-over-year sales, but didn’t specify if this figure was exclusive to Gen Alpha.

“Facial brushes, cleaning brushes and those kind of at-home-spa offerings—they blew up during COVID-19 as people were finding these bigger routines, but have really slimmed down now; people either already have them at home or they’re kind of returning to normal,” Mayo added.

Gen Alpha’s fixation on skincare seems largely influenced by Gen Z’s own spending habits and motivations. 

A recent study by Statista as reported by the News House revealed that Gen Z is the leading consumer group for skincare products, and over one-third of them spend between $21 and $50 on a single skincare product. 

Emmanuelle Dirix, a cultural theorist and professor of fashion and beauty at Syracuse University’s London Center, attributes this trend to Gen Z’s visibility on social media (namely #SkinTok), societal beauty standards of airbrushed models, and influences of a parent generation “obsessed” with anti-aging in the early aughts.

“That’s ultimately what luxury companies do—they sell hope: This might not have worked, but maybe this will,” said Dirix. “So you go out and buy new stuff all the time. What we’re chasing is a carrot on a stick, and that carrot is societally created to make money.”

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