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Author Biography:

Allison B. Vought  is an inventive scientist and educator specializing in natural cosmetic formulation and short-run, private label skincare. Since 2005, she has worked as chief cosmetic formulator, business consultant and CEO of various skin care companies. Allison is the co-founder of AliMar, LLC, (www.alimarlabs.com ) a private label manufacturer specializing in ultra-low minimums, as well as co-founder of the Vegan skincare line.



The Millennial Machine - 2017 Trends
By Allison B. Vought Monday, April 3, 2017
If you’re like most small businesses, trends are something you likely follow to help keep your finger on the pulse of what is new, exciting and profitable. Millennials, defined as those ages 18-34, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). Like every generation before them, millennials come with their own set of characteristics that make them unique and companies can’t afford to ignore their enormous purchasing power.

Statistics show that 40% of millennials want to participate in the co-creation of new products and 70% feel a responsibility to review products and share their experiences (good and bad) with companies online. If you’re debating adding a new product to your line, it might be worth it to ask millennials for their opinion and input. Online reviews, surveys and focus groups are becoming more commonplace with businesses that want to tailor their offerings to the desires of the younger set.

Millennials embrace and flock to social media and companies with an extensive social existence fare much better than companies with no social media presence. In an increasingly technological world, millennials expect customer support 24/7/365 via a variety of online sources rather than just by phone or email. One of the most popular social platforms for 18-34 year olds is Instagram. Millennials (females especially) flock to companies on the platform with an authentic newsfeed filled with carefully curated visual content. 53% of female millennials have Instagram accounts, compared to only 34% of males. Millennials are thesocial generation. They’ve grown up in a world where being constantly connected is considered normal. And millennial couples are no different. Soon-to-be brides and grooms are constantly looking for ways to share the news of their big day with the rest of the world via wedding hashtags and social media photo albums.

Did you know that 83% of wedding clients are millennials? The millennial generation has embraced the "crafting" mentality, coining themselves as the “DIY generation.” This hands-on attitude has translated over to various industries, but nothing has felt the influence quite like the wedding industry. One of the biggest influences for the DIY bride has been Pinterest. It has been reported that over 70% of Pinterest users have boards that are primarily dedicated to bridal related topics. If your company sells to brides and isn’t utilizing Pinterest, you’re losing business. One way to increase your mileage is to partner with local businesses that also cater to brides through the use of group Pinterest boards, Facebook groups, blogging and Instagram pod groups (a group of cheerleaders who help one another on Instagram through likes and meaningful comments).

From a product formulation standpoint, millennials embrace sustainability as a lifestyle. Brands embracing holistic, vegan, GMO-free, Halal, local and socially or ethically sourced products will fare well. Think ethically-sourced palm oil, local produce and ingredients, free trade certification and other certifications. Millennials want to see that companies are putting their ethics first and foremost. Traceability is important to them, so if your ingredients have a story be sure to share it!

One of the biggest millennial trends for 2017 is the use of a “back to nature” color palette and Pantone, the leader in color communication, doesn’t disappoint. Greenery, the color of the year for 2017, as well as the accompanying color palette selected for the year, harkens to a fresh New Year and the concept of environment. Natural elements, terrariums and botanicals integrate the trend. Greenery is also prominent in many health-food trends, including matcha, microgreens, seaweed and avocado. Growth of urban gardening and indoor vertical farming are introducing variations on greenery in unexpected ways. The prevalence of green in nature maintains a perception of being inherently good for you, even organic. In packaging, it’s an instant message of freshness or “naturalness”.

Customized or personalized product options are in vogue, so expect to see demand for products that can be customized by the individual to solve their specific problem. An example would be facial products geared towards specific skin issues like a facial mask where the clay, additives and wetting agents are hand selected to help with a certain issue or skin type. The key here is ease of use. Products with too many steps or too many moving parts are unlikely to sell well. Multi-functional is the name of the game. 3-in-1 cleansers that can function as a hand wash, body wash and shampoo or body oils that can be used in the bath water as well as a moisturizer and scalp serum are likely to be popular. 

Minimalism is another popular concept with millennials, so pared down ingredients, clean packaging, linear labels and direct advertising are a must. Avoid a lot of unnecessary product fillers, excessive packaging materials, frilly labeling and keep it simple if you want to capture and keep a millennial's attention.


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