This report examines consumer attitudes toward diversity and inclusivity in beauty and personal care. We examine the importance of diversity to consumers, how consumers would like to see inclusivity implemented in the beauty industry, and opportunities for brands and marketers to ensure they’re appealing to consumer needs and demands. Read on to discover our insights.

Beauty Market: Consumer Overview

Collectively, the use of specialty brands is higher than for value or mass beauty brands. This shows a desire among beauty consumers to invest in their appearance, and in line with this, over half of consumers state that their appearance is a top priority. This highlights the importance for brands and marketers to leverage diversity and inclusivity in their brand identity and product lines, as consumers increasingly select brands that are tailored to their identity and values.

Diversity in the Beauty Industry: Consumer Demands

As noted in our report on Gen Z beauty consumers, women tend to agree that the representation of beauty standards is too rigid, and social media sets unrealistic expectations. Women therefore likely want to see more of a range of depictions of beauty in the industry, including what might be considered “non-traditional”.

Black consumers overindex for feeling represented in the beauty industry. While this may indicate progress, it’s important to note that many Black consumers struggle to find beauty products that match their skin tone. To find out more about what Black people want to see in the beauty industry today, see our Black Consumer: Beauty Trends Report.

  • Keep it real in beauty advertising: 78% of consumers want to see unedited images in beauty/grooming advertisements, and this percentage increases for those aged 18-24.
  • Black representation in product lines: 53% of Black consumers struggle to find beauty products that match their skin tone.

Opportunities for Brands and Marketers: DEI Gaps

While developing products for a small cohort of consumers may not be prudent for many companies, an overwhelming percentage of beauty product users want to see people with physical disabilities featured in advertisements. On top of this, Mintel’s research finds that two in five consumers have a condition of some kind, with some stating this affects their appearance.

The opportunity for brands and marketers here may not be obvious, but both large and niche brands can benefit from appealing to consumers who are disabled or present a condition, whether physical or mental. For example, appealing to the majority of consumers who want to see a better representation of health and other conditions in beauty is likely to be beneficial for improving brand image.

In this report, you’ll find over 50 pages of expert analysis covering consumer preferences when shopping diverse and inclusive beauty, types of diversity and how this applies to brand DEI efforts, consumer attitudes toward beauty, and much more. Looking for something else? Check out our other beauty market research, and find exactly what you’re looking for.

Quickly Understand

  • What consumers define as “diverse” beauty brands.
  • BPC purchase behavior regarding brand diversity.
  • Resources that consumers use to discover brand inclusivity.
  • Attitudes toward diversity, equity, and inclusion in BPC.

Covered in this Report

Companies & Organizations: 15 Percent Pledge, Ulta Beauty, CVS Pharmacy, L’Oréal, Tina Healthcare, Navilens, Gucci, Victoria’s Secret, and more.

Expert Analysis from a Beauty Specialist

This report, written by Jennifer White Boehm, a leading beauty analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in diversity and inclusivity in beauty and add expert context to the numbers.

Beyond traditional perceptions and ideals (ie, race, gender, age), the definition of a diverse beauty brand becomes more nuanced. Expanding diversity to include people with physical/mental challenges is a fairly new concept, but one that is extremely important. Developing products to suit the needs of a small cohort of physically challenged consumers may not be prudent for many companies, but all players can showcase adults with physical/mental conditions to normalize disabilities and challenge stereotypical ideals of beauty.

Jennifer White Boehm, Director, US BPCH Reports
Jennifer White Boehm
Director, BPCH Reports

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Consumer trends
                  • Women want to see change in how beauty is depicted
                    • Figure 1: Attitudes toward beauty, by gender, 2022
                  • Older adults may “tell it like it is” but younger adults drive D&I in beauty
                    • Figure 2: Attitudes toward beauty, by age, 2022
                  • Making strides in showcasing racial diversity in ads, but innovation still needed
                    • Figure 3: Attitudes toward beauty, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
                  • Competitive strategies
                    • Retailers tap social media and in-store efforts to drive awareness of D&I beauty
                      • Figure 4: Learning about D&I beauty brands, 2022
                    • Private label addresses price accessibility in diverse beauty brands
                      • Opportunities
                        • Two in five have a “condition”
                          • Figure 5: Condition status, 2022
                        • Normalize disabled individuals
                        • Market Drivers

                          • Collectively, use of natural, higher-end, niche brands dominate
                            • Figure 6: Beauty brand preferences, 2022
                          • Economic uncertainty and inflation cause purse strings to tighten
                            • Figure 7: Consumer Sentiment Index, 2007-22
                            • Figure 8: Consumer Sentiment Index change from previous period, 2007-22
                          • Youthful skew of category is challenged by aging population
                            • Figure 9: Types of diversity, by age, 2022
                            • Figure 10: Population aged 18 or older, by age, 2017-27
                          • Increasingly diverse population drives change
                            • Figure 11: Population, by race and Hispanic origin, 2017-27
                        • Market Challenges

                          • Attractiveness still matters in advertising
                            • Figure 12: Aversions to certain types of diversity in BPC advertising, 2022
                          • Women don’t know/want to admit reasons why they don’t want to see diverse beauty
                            • Figure 13: Aversion to certain types of diversity in BPC advertising, by gender, 2023
                          • Young adults question genuineness of diverse BPC advertising
                            • Figure 14: Aversion to certain types of diversity in BPC advertising, by age, 2023
                          • Struggles when shopping for beauty products
                            • Figure 15: Struggles with shopping for BPC products, 2023
                          • Struggles largely stem from affordability and skin tone/type
                            • Figure 16: Struggles when shopping for BPC products, 2023
                            • Figure 17: Struggles when shopping for BPC products, 2023
                        • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                          • Retailers driving change
                            • Figure 18: Learning about D&I beauty brands, 2022
                          • 15% Pledge instigates action among retailers and brands
                            • Figure 19: Instagram post – 15 Percent pledge, 2023
                          • Ulta Beauty taps customer service and in-store initiatives to support D&I beauty brands
                              • Figure 20: Instagram post – Ulta Beauty, 2023
                            • CVS addresses need for price accessibility of diverse and inclusive beauty
                              • Figure 21: Instagram post – CVS one+other brand, 2023
                            • Expanding D&I to include physical/mental challenges
                              • Figure 22: Condition status, 2022
                            • Product development with the disabled consumer in mind
                              • Figure 23: Instagram post – L’Oréal USA, 2023
                              • Figure 24: Instagram post – Tina Healthcare, 2022
                              • Figure 25: Instagram post – Navilens, 2022
                            • Marketing strategies can normalize physical disabilities
                            • The Diversity and Inclusion Consumer – Fast Facts

                              • Fast fact 1: the definition of diversity continues to evolve
                                • Fast fact 2: realistic beauty in advertising is a must
                                  • Fast fact 3: marketing D&I offers significant opportunity
                                    • Fast fact 4: D&I in beauty must be authentic and affordable
                                    • Defining Diversity

                                      • A diverse beauty brand is inclusive and universal
                                        • Figure 26: Instagram post – Kohl Kreatives, 2022
                                        • Figure 27: Diversity attributes, 2022
                                      • Men are more apt to consider physical challenges in defining diversity
                                        • Figure 28: Diversity attributes, by gender, 2022
                                      • Older age groups skew toward traditional definitions of diversity
                                        • Figure 29: Diversity attributes, by age, 2022
                                    • Types of Diversity

                                      • Realism in beauty advertising is desired
                                        • Figure 30: Types of diversity, 2022
                                      • Real-life beauty isn’t perfect
                                        • Figure 31: Rationales for diversity in beauty/grooming advertisements, 2022
                                      • Women want diversity to reflect real life and non-traditional beauty
                                        • Figure 32: Types of diversity, by gender, 2022
                                        • Figure 33: Rationales for diversity in beauty/grooming advertisements, by gender, 2022
                                      • Young adults interested in imperfect beauty
                                        • Figure 34: Types of diversity, by age, 2022
                                        • Figure 35: Rationales for diversity in beauty/grooming advertisements, by age, 2022
                                      • Racial diversity: Black people want to see themselves in advertising
                                          • Figure 36: Instagram post – One/Size, 2023
                                          • Figure 37: Rationales for diversity in beauty/grooming advertisements, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
                                      • Shopping Diverse and Inclusive Beauty

                                        • Half of beauty product users shop D&I brands
                                          • Figure 38: Shopping diverse and inclusive beauty, 2022
                                        • Younger adults shop D&I brands
                                          • Figure 39: Instagram post – Noto Botanics, 2022
                                          • Figure 40: Shopping diverse and inclusive beauty, by age, 2022
                                        • Black beauty users seek out minority-owned brands that promote diversity
                                          • Figure 41: Shopping diverse and inclusive beauty, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
                                      • Learning about Brands’ Inclusivity

                                        • Most tap social media to find out about brands’ inclusivity
                                          • Figure 42: Learning about D&I beauty brands, 2022
                                        • Build confidence on social media to support young adults
                                          • Figure 43: Instagram post – Dove, 2022
                                          • Figure 44: Learning about D&I beauty brands, by age, 2022
                                      • Attitudes toward Beauty

                                        • Most don’t agree with how society and social media define beauty
                                          • Figure 45: Instagram post – Selfmade, 2023
                                          • Figure 46: Attitudes toward beauty, 2022
                                        • Women feel the brunt of ideal beauty concepts
                                          • Figure 47: Attitudes toward beauty, by gender, 2022
                                        • Older adults “tell it like it is” – not everyone can be physically beautiful
                                          • Figure 48: Attitudes toward beauty, by age, 2022
                                        • Blacks and Hispanics feel represented in the beauty space
                                          • Figure 49: Attitudes toward beauty, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                        • Data sources
                                          • Consumer survey data
                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                              • Abbreviations
                                                • Terms

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