The Mary Berry Effect: Grans glam up

September 22, 2015
4 min read

Since The Great British Bake Off began, Mary Berry has received increasing media attention for her age-appropriate glamour. Each week she appears immaculately dressed, with each outfit more impressive as the seasons progress. The celebrity cook is now credited with setting fashion trends amongst older women. This has not gone unnoticed amongst her co-stars, with Paul Hollywood quoted as saying, “Whatever Mary wears, sells out. If she came out in a Hessian bag, it would sell.”

As well as her fashion-sense, Mary Berry is having an impact on mature beauty trends and is frequently pictured with bright lipstick and blow-dried hair. Younger audiences are also taking notice; men’s monthly magazine FHM included Mary Berry on their annual list of the 100 sexiest women, featuring her at #73.

Viewers watching Mary Berry may be inspired to try new make-up looks and hairstyles, as the over 70s are less likely to find beauty inspiration through social media channels popular with younger women. The cook also appeals to a generation of older women who are looking to enhance their natural beauty, rather than attempting to look younger.

Appealing to an ageing population

The UK population is ageing, and the number of women aged 65+ is expected to grow by over half a million over the next five years. With the growing numbers, mature consumers are presenting an increased commercial opportunity. The rising pension age also means many stay in full time employment for longer and will therefore have higher disposable incomes.

A number of beauty brands are responding to this and have begun targeting more mature ladies with product launches and advertising campaigns. Indeed beauty brands including NARS, Marc Jacobs and L’Oréal are using older women, such as Helen Mirren and Charlotte Rampling, in their marketing and advertising.

Glam grans propel sales

The older glamour showcased by celebrities including Mary Berry is inspiring older women to take a greater interest in the beauty market, which can often feel inaccessible to an older women due to its focus on younger generations.

According to Mintel’s In-salon Hair Services UK 2015 report women aged 65 and over are taking a greater interest in keeping hair well-styled; 15% of women aged 65 and over have re-styled their hair four or more times compared to just 9% of 16-24 year old women. A similar trend is seen in blow-dries, 38% of women aged 65 and over have had hair blow dried in a salon four or more times in the last year, compared to just 14% of 16-24 year old women.

Grans pop with color cosmetics

As well as perfecting their hair dos, older women have also shown interest in certain products to emphasis facial features. Although overall usage of colour cosmetics declines with age, lipstick bucks the trend. Lipstick usage remains high across all ages and a bright lipstick is often chosen by Mary Berry for her TV appearances.

Usage of BB/CC creams and eyebrow definers also lift slightly amongst women aged 55+. BB/CC products may offer more subtle results than a foundation, allowing women to hydrate their skin while providing natural coverage. The higher usage of eyebrow definers among this demographic relates to thinning hair with age and lighter eyebrows; a defining product can assist in framing the face.

Mintel’s Face Colour Cosmetics UK 2015 report found age representation is the biggest factor influencing what make-up users would like to see in a brand ambassador. This rises with age, peaking at 57% of the over-55s, despite a number of colour cosmetic brands using older models recently. This suggests that older women are still not feeling well represented in advertising. Indeed two fifths of colour cosmetics users feel there are not enough older models in beauty advertising.

To find out more about how the growing senior population is having a big impact on the market download our trends report Old Gold.

Charlotte Libby is Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel, collating and analysing a wide range of data on the beauty markets, including consumer trends, product sales and new innovations. Charlotte joined Mintel in 2013 as an Analyst across the Beauty & Personal Care and Household sectors and now specialises in Beauty.

Charlotte Libby
Charlotte Libby

Charlotte is a Global Colour Cosmetics and Fragrance Analyst. Her expertise lie in consumer behaviour, trends and product innovation.

More from Mintel
  • Mintel Store
    Mintel Store
    Get smart fast with our exclusive market research reports, delivering the latest data, innovation, trends and strategic recommendations....
    View reports
  • Mintel Leap
    Mintel Leap is a revolutionary new AI-powered platform that will transform your research process....
    Book a demo
Subscribe to Mintel Spotlight
Related articles

Download the Latest Market Intelligence