Female baby boomers get online, not in line, for beauty

CHICAGO —The online beauty market is poised to explode, and it’s likely that the techsavvy teen and young adult won’t be driving the significant growth. According to a recent report by Mintel, the female baby boomers will be behind the wheel—or the mouse, in this case.

“Female baby boomers are one of the largest beauty care segments, known for their spending power, proactive health habits and dedication to product research,” stated Kat Fay, senior analyst at Mintel. “In fact, these women spend 13 or more hours online a week, making the online market a powerful resource if retailers can get boomers to log on.”

In the Mintel “Beauty Retailing” study, 1-in-10 of the 1,020 female respondents—all ages 18 years or older—reported using some type of online retailer to purchase cosmetics and skin care aids, and as the female population ages, the female boomer population is expected to increase by 30.9% from 2005 to 2015.

When strictly looking at online sales, 8% of those surveyed visit mass merchandiser sites for beauty products, 8% order from Target.com, 8% from Walmart.com, 5% patronize such drug store sites as CVS or Walgreens, and 8% visit other unnamed online retailers.

Creativity of online beauty retailers has contributed to the continued growth of the Internet market. Fay noted that “innovations like virtual makeovers, new product tweets and online-only sweepstakes draw in consumers and provide them with benefits and discounts they can’t find in an actual brick-and-mortar store.”

Mintel noted that, with the continued popularity of Twitter, Facebook and VideoEgg, beauty retailers can use social-networking platforms to measure consumer preferences and tailor their sites to appeal to online shoppers.

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