Approximately ₤784m (€910m) was spent last year in the UK on beauty and personal care products for or by teenagers, but only a fraction of products are directed specifically at the age group, according to market research company Mintel.
The market for products aimed at teens is dominated by colour cosmetics and fragrance for girls, according to Mintel analyst Alexandra Richmond, but big potential remains for body wash, skincare and hair care products that appeal to both teenage boys and girls.
“Today’s teenagers have a very keen sense of self and there is a very real need for more products that are relevant to teens,” she said.
In the case of teenage boys, attracting a loyal following may stand a brand holder in good stead for the future when strengthening its presence in the male grooming market.
“Finding a way to appeal to boys as they move into adulthood would be a good idea,” Richmond told CosmeticsDesign.
Products must not alienate parents
Although Mintel research suggests eight out of ten teens and tweens have a say in the purchase of at least three of the products in their personal care routine, manufacturers need to be careful not to alienate parents as they often control the purse strings, she said.
Brands that use overly sexualised marketing, while they may appeal to teens that can make irregular purchases with pocket money, are unlikely to become part of the weekly shop.
For Richmond, ways to succeed in the market include using well chosen celebrities or sport stars to push the brands and making the most of the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter with young people.
Boys seem to be more likely to choose their own hair styling products. Richmond said this is partly down to stars such as David Beckham sporting different styles that require products, and illustrates the power of the celebrity personality to dictate purchasing decisions.
Cause marketing could be a winner
Furthermore, she said cause marketing, such as giving a percentage of proceeds to charity, seemed to be fairly successful especially with young girls.
“Tapping into concerns that affect teenagers is a ways of creating resonance without resorting to fluorescent packaging,” she said, adding that brands should be careful not to patronise.
Regarding the characteristics of the product itself, Richmond said the scent was a ‘make or break’ factor.
Scent is important on two levels, both in not smelling bad and therefore building confidence, but also in creating a sense of individuality with a signature scent.