Toya Mitchell
Toya Mitchell is a Multicultural Analyst at Mintel and develops Reports on Black consumers.

With nearly half of the total Black population in the US consisting of Millennials or the iGeneration (aged 9-39 in 2016), multicultural, and in particular Black, Millennial women are seen as a primary target in driving sales within established beauty brands competing with startups.

Empowerment and beauty on her terms

Avon North American business was sold to private equity firm Cerebus Capital Management after years of soft sales within the beauty category. As part of their restructuring under Cerebus, Avon is making a concerted effort to reach women, particularly multicultural Millennial women, who are both highly experimental in testing beauty products, as well as launching entrepreneurial endeavors, more so than their older counterparts.

A new advertising campaign launched in October 2016 focuses on the theme of “This Boss Life,” which highlights Avon as an opportunity for women to be solopreneurs and own a business. Georgiana, a Millennial Black woman, is featured in a testimonial as an Avon representative who juggles her full-time architectural design career with selling Avon for supplementary income while in college and continued to sell 10 years post-graduation. She touts the company as enabling her to pay down debt, remain connected to her social circle and, most importantly, build leadership skills that have strengthened her ability to enhance both careers. In addition to Georgiana’s testimonial, multicultural women are prominently featured on Avon’s branded TV, print and digital advertising creative.

What we think

Multicultural and, in particular, Black women are seen as a growth target opportunity within the beauty category. Beauty sales among Black women grew 28% between 2011 and 2016, mainly driven by growth among Millennial women. Avon is returning to their roots as an empowerment tool for women in earning income, taking charge of how they want to steer their careers and, ultimately, feel a sense of independence. The company was a staple with Black women in the past, mainly because the use of independent beauty consultants were able to be seen as authentic, someone who understood their consumer base’s beauty needs and a member of their social circle.

Beauty sales forecasts among Black women are robust, mainly due to niche, natural, Black-owned brands making inroads among younger, Millennial consumers who are open to experimentation, unlike older consumers. While Millennials are open to experimentation, they, like all Black women, want to ensure that they are buying products that will perform up to their expectations. In this context, established brands like Avon recognize that they benefit in competing with these smaller brands by capitalizing on their history and preponderance of Black women looking to their trusted inner circle for beauty advice.

Toya Mitchell joined Mintel Reports in 2016 and focuses on multicultural research, specifically Black consumers. Her background as a communications strategist – tasked with understanding the consumer and shopper journey across information collection, consumption, and shopping – provides a unique perspective of what factors drive consumer behavior.