Younger Gen Z (ages 16-18) is the future of personal care; they’re setting trends and are at a critical life stage where they’re buying their first personal care products with their own money. Brands that don’t actively engage with this group may overlook the chance to foster meaningful connections and brand loyalties that will last a lifetime.

Consider this piece a guide to understanding the journey of younger Gen Z in the US and UK with personal care brands, offering new insights and strategies for connecting with this unique group.

Read SuperAwesome’s Gen Z’s Digital Discovery: Strategies for Brands to Connect report for more tools to engage with this generation.

Younger Gen Z Is the Key to Lifetime Brand Loyalty

Younger Gen Z bonds with brands earlier than many realize—85% own a brand today that they wanted during their younger years.1 Personal care brands like Nivea, Gillette, and Dove have an over 70% loyalty rate among adults who desired these brands as teens.1

Data shows that personal care brands with qualities rooted in value, familiarity, effectiveness, and safety become mainstays and are introduced to the next generation as essential products.2 Capturing the trust and loyalty of younger Gen Z now will ensure a brand’s relevance and success for decades to come.

16-18 Is When Gen Z Starts Buying Their Own Personal Care Products2

Two out of five Gen Zers make their first solo personal care purchases starting at 16 years old (vs. having parents buy products for them). At 18, Gen Z is more likely to move out of the family home and experience a spending splurge in personal care items as they start to stock their dorm rooms and apartments.

If brands aren’t reaching younger Gen Z, they could be missing out on the time when purchase habits are starting to form. Brands should focus on highlighting their product’s quality, value, and reliability during this phase, ensuring they resonate with Gen Z’s evolving needs as they enter adulthood.

Personal Care Items Impact Identity

Personal care purchases stand out for their direct influence on confidence and emotional wellbeing. As Gen Z navigates a period defined by significant milestones and changes, they seek reassurance. Personal care brands can successfully resonate with this generation by emphasizing this sense of comfort and stability in their advertising and media campaigns. One-third of Gen Zers over 16 highlight the comforting nature of these products, choosing items based on how they make them feel and whether brands share their values.1 

Gen Z places a premium on wellness, safety, and comfort. 60% prioritize mental wellbeing over physical appearance, offering a unique opportunity for personal care brands to align with their mental health priorities. 2

Engage Gen Z: They Actually Like Digital Advertising2

Gen Z has a distinct appreciation for digital ads. In fact, nearly 70% openly express liking advertising, with two-thirds of them intentionally not using ad blockers. This demonstrates that younger Gen Z is willing to listen to and engage with brands, and brands should seize this moment to create campaigns that directly communicate with them.

Four Safe Strategies for Engaging Younger Gen Z

By tapping into SuperAwesome’s deep understanding and coverage of the youth digital ecosystem, personal care brands can forge lasting relationships with younger Gen Z, ensuring their place in personal care routines now and in the future.

1. Maximize Social Video Reach: As younger Gen Z shapes the future of personal care, leveraging platforms like YouTube is crucial. SuperAwesome’s AwesomeAds platform is primed to tap into their journey, boasting a potential reach of 207.5 billionyouth-safe impressions each month across diverse platforms. By understanding their digital behavior, brands can place themselves right where Gen Z is exploring and forming their brand loyalties.

2. Harness the Power of Gaming: Gaming is Gen Z’s top hobby4 , and it’s essential for brands to position themselves within this dominant digital space. SuperAwesome Gaming’s creator collaborations leverage our profound Gen Z insights to craft authentic, high-impact games. Paired with the right media campaigns, our gaming activations unlock billions of impressions and a 97%5  increase in gameplay. From in-game billboards and immersive activations to exclusive partnerships with games like Club Roblox, brands can seamlessly weave their messages into Gen Z’s gaming experiences.

3. Leverage Authentic Influencer Connections: Gen Z values authenticity, and when 66%5  express interest in eventually buying or having a product showcased by SuperAwesome Creators, it speaks volumes about the power of genuine influencer endorsements. Having reached over 1 billion  (3) social views, we highlight the importance of genuine connections. By collaborating with influencers who resonate with younger Gen Z’s values and priorities, brands can form deeper, more meaningful connections.

4. Prioritize Safety and Loyalty Will Follow: Gen Z values both their physical and mental wellbeing and SuperAwesome’s digital solutions were built with young audiences’ safety at the forefront. For example, we use human-vetted YouTube channel lists for brand alignment and protection against inappropriate content. Creators reaching an under-16 audience are encouraged to sign a pledge as part of our SafeFam program to ensure age-suitable content.

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(1) Source: SuperAwesome lifetime value research 2021

(2) Source: SuperAwesome Gen Z research 2023

(3) Source: Internal SuperAwesome data

(4) SuperAwesome report: How brands can connect with young audiences in the metaverse

(5) Source: Aggregated SuperAwesome campaigns, 2019-2022