- A new national survey by AARP found brands can improve sales by including women of all ages in their ads because many Gen X and baby boomer women feel ignored by the beauty and personal grooming products industry, according to a press release. The report, "Mirror/Mirror: Survey of Women’s Reflections of Beauty, Image and Media," surveyed 1,992 women in the U.S.
- Sixty-four percent of Gen X women and 74% of boomer women — as well as 76% of millennial women (22 to 38) — said older adults were underrepresented in advertising by the beauty industry. Eighty-five percent of women of all ages said they wished ads had more realistic imagery of people.
- The study also found that 40% of Gen X women (39 to 54) and 53% of boomer women (55 to 73) disagreed with the statement that the industry "creates products with people my age in mind." Seventy percent of respondents in both age groups said they were more likely to buy products from brands that show a variety of ages in their ads.
AARP's findings complicate the emphasis that marketers have placed on advertising for younger consumers, especially millennials and Generation Z (the latter includes consumers up to 24 years old). While younger consumers have rising purchasing power, Gen X and boomers are still a sizable market. For example, boomers still outspend millennials, according to Visa.
The survey comes as the marketing industry is focused not just on generational marketing that targets millennials and Gen Z, but on inclusivity efforts that aim to show more diverse portrayals of consumers in its advertising. AARP's findings suggest that older consumers have perhaps not been included in these efforts, leaving an opening for savvy brands.
The survey is part of a multiyear initiative by AARP to "overcome the misconceptions of aging portrayed in ads," which is the also the goal of a collaboration between AARP and Getty Images announced in September. In that effort, the organizations launched "The Disrupt Aging Collection" during Advertising Week New York. It contained more than 1,400 images that challenge stereotypes of aging and showed consumers over the age of 50 enjoying an active lifestyle.
Another AARP study found that although 46% of the U.S. adult population is over 50, just 15% of media imagery showed that group in a random sample of 1,000 online images from brands and thought leaders on news and social sites with at least 1 million followers. Additionally, 70% of the images of people over 50 show them in isolated situations, and only 5% of images show them interacting with tech, although the organization says the 50-plus cohort will spend more than $84 billion on tech products by 2030.