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Tween Beauty: They hold The Purse and Apron Strings

June 23, 2008

According to the NPD Group’s Insight Into the Youth Beauty Market, “tween” girls—those between the ages of eight and 12 years old—first start using beauty products at the age of 10 and may use more than two dozen different beauty product categories. The majority of what they are using includes fragrances/body sprays, body washes/cleansers/gels and lip products, like lipgloss and balm.

While scents sales overall have been challenging in the prestige and mass markets, NPD reports that the fragrance category is actually the one used by more tween girls than any other category. Nearly 60% of tweens say they have started using fragrances/body sprays. Favorite tween brands are Bath and Body Works, Britney Spears, Britney Spears Curious, Victoria’s Secret and CK One.

Skin care is the second most used product among tweens and makeup ranks third, with 40% of tweens reporting that they have used cosmetics. The most commonly used product is lipgloss, with six in ten tween girls using it at least once a month.

“It’s important to understand that at this age these girls are straddling the line between little girl and teenager and as such, there is a huge element of ‘play’ involved in their application of products. Girls eight to 12 are typically still attached to Mom’s apron strings and often look at Mom as a hero,” said Karen Grant, vice president and senior beauty industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Mom has a huge influence on the beauty products tweens use.”

So, where do these young consumers get the cash to buy product? Four in 10 report using allowance money for their beauty purchases while more than six in 10 said their parent or guardian pays for their beauty products.

“Based on the number of tween girls using beauty products and the average amount they report spending per month, the tween segment represents about $500 million in spending on beauty products in a year. Now, that’s a nice sum, but here is what kicks that up into overdrive: since Mom is usually the one purchasing the products for the tweens, it’s important for beauty companies and retailers to recognize that tweens may be driving Mom back into the marketplace. That little girl may be the one pulling the purse strings, so to speak, and the one who provides you an opportunity to talk to Mom,” said Ms. Grant. More info:
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