Inclusive Beauty: Navigating Consumer Diversity and Shifting Preferences

The beauty industry has transformed in recent years driven by consumer demands for products that align with their cultural values and personal beliefs. While the top cosmetic brands continue to be L’Oreal and Estee Lauder, they are being challenged by younger, edgier brands like Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty, Rihanna’s Fenty and e.l.f. Cosmetics. Consumer opinion, however, is not homogeneous. There are significant differences in preferences based on ethnicity, age, income and gender. ThinkNow uncovered some of those differences in our recent Inclusive Beauty Report based on a nationally representative online survey of 2,800 respondents.

Download the full results of the survey here.

The Rise of Conscious Consumerism

The era of conscious consumerism has brought about a major shift in the beauty industry. Increasingly, consumers seek products that align with their values, whether minimizing harm to animals, supporting sustainable practices, or promoting inclusivity. This has led to a growing demand for cosmetics and beauty products that are cruelty-free, meaning they are not tested on animals and that are considered inclusive.

Interestingly, while nearly half of cosmetic consumers want cruelty-free brands, 88% of them are still not cruelty-free. However, the fastest growing brands like e.l.f. and Rare Beauty are both cruelty-free and vegan. Legacy companies that want to compete in today’s market are being pushed to adopt these practices in their formulations and testing processes.

Cultural Insights and Multicultural Consumer Preferences

While the market as-a-whole is trending towards conscious consumerism, there are significant multicultural differences. For example, the demand for all-vegan cosmetics appears to be driven by non-Hispanic White consumers.

Additionally, since non-Hispanic Whites are, on average, ten years older than multicultural Americans, 42% of them choose brands based on how they address age-related needs vs. 30% of Hispanics who value age-related needs. Asians value products that offer solutions for different skin tones (37%) vs products that are endorsed by celebrities (15%) while Black and non-Hispanic White consumers are more likely to value brands that have a variety of price points. Understanding and addressing these specific preferences, as supported by cultural consumer insights, is crucial for building a loyal customer base.

Age and Income Drive Preferences

One might assume that younger consumers would be most interested in conscious consumerism. Gen Z however, is much less likely to seek out vegan cosmetic brands (19%) than Millennials (33%) or Gen X (31%). Gen X is more likely to seek out organic/natural ingredients (41%) than the 36% average for other age groups.

Income, however, is one of the factors that most affect cosmetic product preferences. For example, those earning more than $80K a year are significantly more likely to choose brands that are cruelty-free (53%) and vegan (42%) than those earning less than $40K annually (39%) and 21%), respectively. This insight-driven approach doesn't just enhance product offerings; it also builds trust and loyalty among diverse consumer groups.

The Impact of Inclusive Beauty

The beauty industry's shift towards cruelty-free, vegan, and inclusive beauty products aligns with trends observed in multicultural consumer insights. Younger generations are the most statistically diverse in history and wield the power to affect change. They are communicating their expectations to brands or starting their own and challenging heteronormative stereotypes of “beauty.” Companies willing to adapt to these culture shifts will stay relevant as consumer tastes change and contribute to a more compassionate and diverse world.

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What You Need to Know About the Bilingual Bicultural Hispanic Market

The American ethos of “individualism,” which prioritizes self-reliance, independence and frugality, has tremendously impacted general market advertising strategies. Marketing to Hispanic consumers, however, requires a different approach. The Hispanic ethos embodies collectivism, emphasizing the belief and practice of interdependence and interconnectedness among individuals. Twenty-eight percent of Hispanics live in multigenerational homes where bilingual-bicultural family members typically serve as digital sherpas for Spanish-dominant loved ones who need assistance with online purchasing decisions and online/offline searches.

Interestingly, when Hispanics search online, they prefer to search in English, particularly among the highly acculturated. Marketers may misinterpret this to mean that English-dominate or English-proficient Hispanics are receptive to general market ads when they are not. While advertisers may be reaching Hispanics with these ads, they are not truly connecting with them if they are not brand loyal. And how can they be brand loyal if they do not see themselves reflected in the campaigns? At that point, it becomes a transaction driven by price or availability, not a genuine connection with the brand.

To effectively engage with the bilingual-bicultural Hispanic market, brands must embrace and understand the importance of community, family, and shared experiences. Rather than solely focusing on individual benefits, marketers should emphasize these cultural values in their marketing campaigns. Highlighting how a product or service contributes to the collective well-being and fosters connections can resonate more deeply with Hispanic consumers.

In this episode of The New Mainstream Podcast, Maria (Lopez) Twena, Chief Marketing Officer at Adsmovil and children’s book author of the MariVi the Master Navigator series, discusses the importance of cultural values like collectivism to marketing to bilingual-bicultural Hispanics.

For more Hispanic Consumer insights, get the free report, “The Hispanic Market is not a Monolith but it is Collective,” presented by Publicis Media, Adsmovil and ThinkNow. Download it here.

Meet Our Guest:

Maria (Lopez) Twena, Chief Marketing Officer, Adsmovil

Maria (Lopez) Twena serves as Chief Marketing Officer of Adsmovil, a leading minority-owned and certified mobile advertising and digital media pioneer.

An award-winning marketer with extensive expertise in technology, digital media, and branding, Twena has over thirty years of marketing acumen. Prior to joining Adsmovil, she served as CMO of Entravision Communications and as CMO of Pulpo Media.

Widely recognized for her expertise in branding, positioning, and multicultural consumer segments, Twena’s accolades include receiving the ADCOLOR Award (2009) for her groundbreaking achievement in identifying, segmenting, and targeting bilingual/bicultural Hispanics while at MRM (McCann Worldgroup). There, she founded a discipline that developed Best Practices for advertising to the Hispanic bilingual/bicultural cohort.

She has served as a Board Member of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies and as a faculty member of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). She is also a ThinkNow Advisory Board Member. Twena is a graduate of Loyola University of the South (B.A. Psychology) and the University of New Orleans (M.A. Mass Communications, with a specialty in Film and Television).

She has also authored a children’s book and TV series: MariVi, the Master Navigator Series, which follows its heroine, MariVi, a bilingual/bicultural character, and her family, the Abascals, as they adapt to life in the U.S. The first of the MariVi television series premiered on Nuestra.TV in April 2023.

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A Simple and Effective Guide to Segmenting Your Hispanic Market Research Sample

Conducting market research in the Hispanic market can be challenging, especially for researchers unfamiliar with the community or living in another country. Here is a quick guide to building a representative sample and obtaining accurate results.

Define the study objectives: Before you begin, establish clear research objectives. Determine the information you need and the questions you want to answer. This will help you focus the study and determine the aspects of the Hispanic community you want to investigate.

Segment the Hispanic market: The Hispanic community is diverse with varying cultural, linguistic, and geographical characteristics. To better understand their needs and preferences, consider segmenting the Hispanic market into more specific groups based on factors like country of origin, generation, income level and geographic location. This segmentation will allow for a more comprehensive analysis of each segment.

Hispanics are geographically distributed throughout the country, with certain areas experiencing higher concentrations:

  1. Southwest: California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico have significant Hispanic populations. In California, cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco have substantial Hispanic communities. In Texas, San Antonio, Houston, and El Paso have sizable Hispanic populations.
  2. Southeast: Florida is home to a large Hispanic population, particularly in the Miami and Hialeah areas. Additionally, cities like Orlando and Tampa also have significant Hispanic communities.
  3. Northeast: In the northeastern United States, cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Boston have considerable Hispanic populations. New York, in particular, boasts one of the country's largest and most diverse Hispanic populations.
  4. Midwest: Although to a lesser extent than other regions, the Midwest also has noteworthy Hispanic communities. Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for example, have considerable Hispanic populations

Design the questionnaire: Create a questionnaire that aligns with your research objectives and is tailored to the Hispanic audience. Use clear and understandable language, avoiding jargon or complex concepts. Translate the questionnaire into Spanish for those who prefer to respond in their native language.

Consider Hispanic culture: Culture plays a vital role in the Hispanic community's attitudes, behaviors, and preferences. When conducting your research, consider relevant cultural aspects like family, traditions, values, and festivities. Doing so will help you understand how these cultural nuances influence Hispanic consumer purchasing decisions and behavior. At ThinkNow, we have an acculturation algorithm that allows us to profile our panelists based on the number of years lived in the United States, language spoken at home, the language selected in media consumption, and self-identification giving us visibility into how these panelists see themselves, consume media and live their lives.

Use multiple data collection channels: To ensure a representative sample of the Hispanic community, it is important to analyze the ideal data collection channels. At ThinkNow , we primarily conduct online surveys when engaging our Hispanic panelists. We also conduct telephone interviews, focus groups, and in-person interviews to allow us to cater to diverse segments within the Hispanic community and individuals with different communications preferences.

Consider linguistic diversity: English and Spanish proficiency among Hispanics varies. If relevant to your study, offer bilingual response options or allow participants to respond in their preferred language. Through our ThinkNow panel, we can profile respondents based on acculturation level: High, Medium, and Low. High acculturation levels indicate predominantly English-speaking individuals and medium levels denote balanced bilingualism where individuals speak Spanish and English equally. Low levels of acculturation represent non-acculturated individuals who do not speak or adopt the English language.

Analyze the results: Once data is collected, analyze it appropriately. Conduct comparative analyses among different segments of the Hispanic community, and compare them with other relevant demographic groups. Look for patterns, trends, and significant differences to obtain valuable insights.

Remember that each market research study is unique and may require specific approaches. Adapting your research methods and questions to the Hispanic community will help you obtain more relevant and valuable data, enabling informed decision-making in your marketing strategy.

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What is Delaying Our Electric Vehicle Adoption?

100% electric vehicles are fantastic. They’re zippy, require less maintenance, save money on gas and are generally pretty cool. Given these attributes, it might seem logical to assume that every new car buyer would opt for an electric vehicle (EV). Yet only 5.8% of vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2022 were electric, and 94.2% of brand-new cars sold last year were not. Why?

As part of our Sustainability Study released in April 2023, ThinkNow conducted a nationally representative quantitative survey of 2,050 Americans and probed their reasons for buying or rejecting EVs. Here is what we found:

Cost Is the Main Barrier to Electric Vehicle Adoption

Cost is the single largest barrier to EV adoption. The lowest cost internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle currently on the market has an MSRP of $17,650. Over two dozen ICE vehicles are available for under $25,000. Meanwhile, General Motors announced that it was discontinuing the lowest-cost EV on the market, the Chevy Bolt (MSRP $25,600), in favor of producing higher profit-margin pickup trucks. Tax credits for EV purchases help, but they're limited to U.S. produced vehicles, and the low-cost options on that list are scarce. For EV adoption to take off, it has to be accessible to all car buyers, not just high-earning early adopters.

Inadequate Charging Infrastructure Limits Accessibility

After price, charging is the next big barrier to purchasing EVs. Thirty-four percent of respondents said they wouldn't purchase an EV because they do not have charging available at home or work. This aligns with the 36% of American households living in rental properties less likely to have on-site charging than single-family homes. Public charging is part of the solution, but the availability of public charging varies considerably by city and state. Even in states with relatively high levels of EV penetration, like California, there are cities without a single non-Tesla public charging station (I'm looking at you Mammoth Lakes, CA). The U.S. currently has 56,256 charging stations with around 147,700 individual charging ports. Still, McKinsey & Company estimates that if the U.S. wants to reach the goal outlined in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act recommending that 50% of all vehicles sold yearly be zero-emission by 2030, it will likely need 1.2 million public and 28 million private EV charging stations. It's important to note that this number falls short of what is required for achieving 100% EV adoption.

Lack of Information Perpetuates Misinformation

The following three barriers to EV adoption in our survey were "I don't know enough about them," "They take too long to charge" and "I don't think they're good for the environment." These three issues can be countered by better communicating the benefits. EV owners spend a lot less time charging their vehicles than people spend at gas stations. Most non-EV owners don't realize EVs typically charge overnight 2-3 times a week. Plugging and unplugging an EV takes less than 30 seconds. So EV owners spend fewer weekly minutes physically charging than ICE vehicle owners spend standing in front of gas pumps.

EVs are also unequivocally better for the environment than gas-powered vehicles. Most arguments suggesting otherwise are premised on faulty assumptions. One argument states that the electricity produced to charge EVs is worse for the environment than gasoline. While coal is still responsible for about 20% of U.S. power production, it is rapidly being replaced by wind and solar. Even accounting for current coal and natural gas-powered electricity emissions, research shows that an EV is typically responsible for lower levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) than an average new gasoline car. Battery manufacturing is also frequently cited as being bad for the environment because it takes energy to mine Lithium and manufacture batteries. Here's a comparison of a typical gas-powered car's lifetime greenhouse gas emissions and a 300-mile range EV.

Perceptions of EVs also vary by generation and ethnicity. Communication campaigns must address knowledge gaps within multicultural segments to ensure the successful adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). These communities may have limited exposure to information about EVs compared to other racial groups. For instance, our multicultural research indicates that Asian Americans, in particular, are more prone to experiencing range anxiety compared to other groups which may make them less likely to adopt EVs.

EVs Drive Green Transportation

Making EVs more affordable and expanding charging infrastructure will help accelerate the transition to a greener transportation system. Clear and accurate communication about EV charging times and their environmental benefits is also essential in dispelling misconceptions and encouraging broader acceptance.

Policies must consider that renters and people of all income levels and ethnicities buy cars. EVs can't be playthings for the well-to-do and pipe dreams for everyone else. Addressing these challenges and promoting EV adoption is crucial for achieving the sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation system the U.S. and the world needs.

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Cost May Be a Barrier to EV Adoption but Younger Consumers Willing To Pay for Sustainability

The earth isn’t having a good 21st century. In terms of environmental health, the planet is deteriorating across all metrics, and most governments worldwide have failed to address this issue adequately. Politicians may be more willing to push for substantive policies on issues like climate change if they feel their constituents would support them, but they need the data. So, to commemorate Earth Day and Arbor Day, ThinkNow conducted a nationally representative quantitative consumer research study to identify sustainability policies that Americans support and to highlight their views on environmental concerns.

Download the study here.

Millennial Environmental Consciousness

Environmental concerns vary significantly by generation. For example, when asked about the importance of personally using renewable energy, 46% of Millennials said it was important, very important or extremely important (Top 3 Box response on a 10-point scale), whereas only 29% of Baby Boomers and 32% of Gen Z agreed. Millennial Americans were more likely to support and engage in every sustainability measure we asked about.

Millennials were also more likely to say they personally engaged in sustainability practices more than the general population and that those practices positively impacted the world.

However, sustainability can be expensive. Some policies increase the cost of goods and services, which is often cited as a reason politicians choose not to pursue them. But Millennials are willing to shoulder the expense more so than any other generation, with Gen Z a close second.

Ethnicity is Factor

Some attitudes and behaviors surrounding sustainability appear to be influenced by ethnicity. Eighty-eight percent of Asian Americans, for example, say they take shorter showers to conserve water, whereas only 77% of non-Hispanic Whites say they do that. Non-Hispanic Whites were most likely to say they buy used/thrift items at 76%, while only 61% of Asian Americans were thrift shoppers.

Among the different ethnic groups, African Americans displayed the lowest level of concern regarding the planet's future, with only 68% expressing worry. On the other hand, Hispanics had the highest level of anxiety, with 76% expressing concern. This discrepancy could explain why Hispanics are also the group most willing to shoulder the financial costs associated with sustainable practices.

Income Matters

Income level is key in predicting an individual's likelihood to support or engage in sustainability practices. Opting to go green can get expensive, which explains why only 34% of individuals earning less than $40K per year believe that personally using renewable energy is important, in contrast to 50% of high earners who do. Additionally, certain practices, such as growing one's own food, are more feasible for individuals living in single-family homes than those residing in multi-unit buildings.

Electric Vehicle Adoption

The infrastructure bill passed in 2021 aims to increase the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road. However, 52% of our representative sample said they would not buy an EV in the future. This presents a problem if the U.S. hopes to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. At 64%, the main reason survey respondents gave for not planning to purchase an electric vehicle was cost. EVs are more expensive than their gas-powered counterparts. Range, on the other hand, was a barrier a few years ago, but only 15% of respondents cited that as a reason today. A lack of charging accessibility was the second most likely reason respondents would avoid EVs, with 34% stating they had nowhere to charge at work or home and an equal 34% stating there aren't enough charging stations.

In Conclusion

Sustainability and environmental concerns are becoming increasingly important to Americans, particularly younger generations. Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to support and engage in these practices, even if they come at a cost. The passage of the infrastructure bill in 2021 represents progress in decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels. However, the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle remains a significant obstacle for many Americans. To effectively address environmental degradation, policymakers must consider their constituents' attitudes, behaviors, motivators, and barriers when formulating policies to tackle this crucial issue. Further action is necessary to ensure that sustainable solutions are accessible and feasible for all.

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Third Generation Latinx Brands and CPG: A New Era of Hispanic Marketing

The Latino community in the United States is changing rapidly, and this shift is reflected in the evolution of Latinx brands. The first generation of Latinx brands emerged in the 1980s, coinciding with the first large Hispanic immigration boom in the country. Many of these brands sold products from Latin America and marketed to Hispanic immigrants in their native language. Goya, established in New York City in the 1930s by a Spanish immigrant, is an example of a first-generation Latinx brand.

Second-generation Latinx brands emerged as the U.S. Hispanic population grew and CPG companies launched products targeting Latinos. These brands primarily relied on bilingual marketing and branding, using packaging and advertising that featured both English and Spanish. Fabuloso exemplifies the second-generation Latinx brand. While its origins began in the 80s in Venezuela, Colgate-Palmolive purchased the brand and introduced it to the American market in 1996.

Today, as Latino Millennials and Gen Z reach adulthood, a third generation of Latinx brands is emerging. These brands are defined by English-first marketing and branding and rely on cultural cues rather than language to connect with consumers. Nopalera is an example of a third-generation Latinx brand. Founded by Sandra Velazquez who grew up in Los Angeles and was inspired by her Mexican American heritage, Nopalera products are marketed in English but incorporate cultural references, such as cactus and Mexican iconography, in their branding.

The emphasis on cultural relevance, authenticity, decolonization, English-first marketing, and innovation sets third-generation Latinx brands apart. These principles are essential for CPG professionals to understand and integrate into their companies, brands, products, and marketing efforts.

Let’s take a closer look at each element:

Cultural relevance is vital to engaging with Latino consumers. To effectively connect with this demographic, CPG professionals must invest time in comprehending the cultural nuances of the Hispanic community and incorporate them into their marketing and branding strategies.

Third-generation Latinx brands must also be authentic and focused on products and marketing that reflect Hispanics’ lived experiences. CPG professionals can achieve authenticity by collaborating with Hispanic influencers, featuring real people in advertising and marketing campaigns, and creating products that align with the community's needs and preferences.

Also essential to the success of third-generation Latinx brands is a willingness to view efforts through a decolonization lens. This requires challenging dominant and often false narratives about Hispanic culture. CPG professionals can embrace this approach by learning the history of Hispanic culture, working with diverse creators and artists, and developing inclusive and respectful products. By doing so, they can contribute to a more authentic and equitable representation of the Latinx community.

English-first marketing is another defining characteristic of third-generation Latinx brands. By adopting this strategic approach and honoring cultural cues that resonate with Hispanic consumers, CPG professionals can connect with a broader audience while preserving cultural authenticity and relevance.

Finally, innovation. Third-generation Latinx brands are breaking traditional marketing norms by leveraging innovation to create new product categories, distribution channels, and marketing techniques. To remain competitive, CPG professionals should embrace innovation, experimenting with new technologies and strategies to connect with Hispanic consumers authentically and meaningfully.

To sum up, CPG professionals can leverage the unique characteristics of third-generation Latinx brands – cultural relevance, authenticity, decolonization, English-first marketing, and innovation – to engage with Hispanic consumers effectively. By emphasizing these principles, CPG professionals can foster long-term relationships with the Hispanic community while developing successful brands that genuinely reflect the depth and diversity of Hispanic culture.

This blog post was originally published on MediaPost

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Hispanic Gen Z Breaking Stereotypes and Driving Change

The U.S. celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month each year to recognize the influence, culture, and contributions of Hispanic Americans. One generation is blazing a trail and breaking convention – Gen Z. An area in which we see a tremendous impact by this demographic is employment. The U.S. labor force is shifting toward younger workers who favor the trending "work from anywhere" concept. But it's not just their job philosophy that differs from traditional ideologies. Gen Z's consumption habits differ from other generations and will likely evolve as they age. ThinkNow surveyed more than 1,400 Hispanic Gen Z to determine where these differences lie.

About 8.3% of respondents stated earning a salary between $50K-$60K, with 6.7% stating they make between $40K-$50K. Nearly a quarter of respondents are still in their undergraduate careers, so it's no surprise that 40% said they live with their parents/family.

Gen Z is likely listening to the radio while driving to work. Fifty percent of Gen Z listen to AM/FM radio, with 63% listening on traditional radios (not streaming services like Sirius XM, iHeart, or Pandora). For advertisers, this presents a cost-effective opportunity to reach this demographic through a channel competitors may be ignoring.

When they are not listening to the radio, they watch their favorite programs. Sixty-six percent of Gen Z responded that they spend 0-4 hours per week watching Spanish-language TV programming. Nearly 70% of respondents stated they watch Netflix programming. As a bonus for advertisers, 60% of respondents stated they don't listen to top Spanish or Latino podcasts. Redirect that spend to channels more native to this generation.

Finally, we often see Gen Z calling out injustices around the world. But a surprising 83% state they're optimistic about the future. Perhaps that's because they feel empowered to be the change they want to see in the world. Three-quarters stated being satisfied with their current life, and less than one in five responded feeling their life is at least somewhat worse off than their parents'.

Gen Z is on track to fundamentally change the work environment and social norms.

Want more Gen Z facts? Get on-demand audience insights with ThinkNow ConneKt.

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