50s and Fabulous – Your Market Target


If you read most Australian women’s magazines and are of a ‘certain age’, like me, you do so prepared that you are no longer being ‘spoken to’.

That’s not to say you don’t enjoy all the stories, and revel in the gorgeous photography of the glossies. But if you’re looking for guidance on age-appropriate makeup and skincare, mags have a nasty habit of cutting out after ‘the 40s’. If you’re lucky, they’ll gloss over with lip service to ‘the 50s-plus’.

This is curious when ours is an ageing population and people over 50 are not only still alive and kicking but are more relevant to business owners than ever before.

Take our peers in the UK, where over-50s women are now the biggest buyers of beauty products, a rise attributed to the use of mature brand ambassadors including Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda.

According to recent market research by UK internet cosmetics retailer Escentual, described as the ‘Amazon of online beauty’ by MoneyWeek, women over 45 account for 58.14 per cent of the beauty market, while the over-60s are behind a quarter of all beauty sales in Britain – more than double that of a decade ago.

The 45-54 age group now spends $4,300 a year on beauty products – up 4.1 per cent on previous years.

The 55-64 age group now spends $4,200 a year which, at an increase of 4.9 percent, makes it the UK beauty industry’s biggest growth area.

The boom has been attributed to cosmetics giants such as L’Oreal and NARS taking on older stars to sell their products.

‘The peak age for women to take care of their beauty is now 49 – this is the tipping point age when many women realise they have to try harder to keep their looks,’ says Escentual.com beauty director Emma Leslie. ‘Back in the 2000s the peak spending age would have been around the late 30s.

‘Much of this shift is also down to the use of older brand beauty ambassadors such as Helen Mirren and Tilda Swinton, but women over 50 now tend to have more active social and work lives and so are more inclined to make sure they keep their looks.

‘They are much more likely nowadays to pay for premium products to help maintain a more youthful appearance.’

In the past year, beauty brands have chosen to use ambassadors such as screen veterans Dame Helen MIrren, 69, and Jane Fonda, 77, who both promote L’Oreal Age Perfect day cream.

Tilda Swinton, 54, is the brand ambassador for NARS, while Charlotte Rampling, 69, and 65-year-old Jessica Lange have been picked to promote Marc Jacobs beauty.

But while older women are spending more on cosmetics, according to the survey, the young are splurging less.

The 19-24 age group now spend $3,380 a year on cosmetics (a fall of 12 per cent), the 25-34 age group spend $3,930 (a fall of 5 per cent) and among 35-there has been just a slight increase of 1.2 per cent to $4,190 a year.

The Escentual.com market research also found that younger women tend to buy cheaper brands than more mature women.

Dame Helen Mirren, who said she was ‘surprised’ yet ‘flattered’ to have been picked to model for L’Oreal, spoke of her obsession with makeup as she approaches her 70th birthday in July.

‘I love makeup,’ she says. ‘I’m often seen prowling the aisles of various chemists all over the world looking for a new lipstick or a new mascara, so to become a spokesperson for a major cosmetics firm is very exciting.

‘I think L’Oreal’s slogan `Because I’m worth it’ really strikes a chord with women. Self-esteem is such a hugely important thing and it’s so difficult for all of us.’

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