Image-consciousness is becoming ever-more pervasive among aging populations...

Image-consciousness is becoming ever-more pervasive among aging populations in developed economies. Photo: © wavebreakmedia /

According to a recent survey by Canadean [1], the increasingly visually-oriented culture of society often means consumers associate image with success. While women are 1.3 times more likely to feel under pressure to look good than men, both genders associate appearance with success in personal and professional lives, with 66% of women and 61% of men subscribing to this belief.

The belief that image correlates with success is strong across all age groups, with over half of consumers agreeing. Young adults aged 16-24, however, are likely to be most influenced by this notion, with 65% agreeing, decreasing to 60% among those aged 55 and over.

Men use more skincare products

This trend reflects how image-consciousness is catching up with men and baby boomers, demonstrating narrowing gender and age disparities in the beauty market,” explains Veronika Zhupanova, Analyst for Canadean.

According to Canadean, the increasing number of occasions when men use skincare products exhibits this trend. “Among major global economies, men used skincare products on 453 billion occasions in 2011, which shot up to 557 billion occasions in 2015. Meanwhile, as image-conscious consumers age, the desire to maximize appearance among the older generation will increase,” said the market research firm.

All age demographics

With image-consciousness becoming ever-more pervasive among aging populations in developed economies and the pension age rising, competition to look good among this demographic will drive demand in categories such as anti-aging skincare and make-up, as consumers seek to impress employers and appear as dynamic as younger colleagues,” noted Zhupanova.

Amongst the young, social media, now a popular daily ritual, can be a significant driver of image-consciousness. “Selfie” culture encourages the taking of close-up photographs as a means of self-expression and impressing peers. The close-up nature of the shots, however, means potential for skin imperfections to be captured is high, and may encourage people to seek out products to minimize this.

While there have been a number of launches targeting photo occasions for young adults, such as Estée Lauder’s Flash Photo Powder, older consumers remain overlooked despite increasing social media use. This demographic offers prime opportunities in the make-up and skincare categories to innovate in line with the latest trends, such as the desire to be always ‘photoready’ during busy days. In order to make the most of this opportunity, companies should be subtle in their marketing towards older consumers, emphasizing the important role photos have in making memories, for example,” continued Zhupanova.