By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, Founder/Director of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)
The industry impact of Millennials as medical spa patients is just beginning to be felt, as “The Selfie Generation” currently accounts for about 20% of aesthetic patients. As this demographic ages it promises to offer a lot of potential clients as the growth of social media has led to increased comfort with the idea of medical aesthetic treatments, causing the average age of first treatments to plummet for many procedures. For all of the possibilities presented by this age group, the digital natives of Generation Z present even an greater opportunity in the long run.
Generation Z is typically defined as beginning with people born in the mid-to-late 1990s, so the oldest Zers are currently in their late teens. It may be difficult for many of us to imagine, but most of Generation Z cannot remember a time before 9/11. They grew up in a world where the U.S. has always been at war, where a crippling recession caused by corporate greed cost millions of people their jobs and livelihoods, and where deep-seated political turmoil is a fact of life.
They’ve been raised on technology and know how to use social media more effectively than anyone else, but while Millennials are (probably unfairly) seen as being more passive and self-interested, Generation Z seems determined to fix the problems caused by those who came before. It also is worth pointing out that Generation Z is a larger group than the Millennials.
Of course, it also should be noted that they also have very short attention spans, and their independent mind-sets can sometimes lead to problems, but these quirks are part of the package and, sooner or later, everyone is going to need to learn how to deal with it.
In the context of the medical aesthetic industry—and every other business, quite frankly—it is important to learn what matters to Generation Zers. Today, the majority of marketing is still directed at Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials, and for good reason, since these groups are the ones that are earning (or have earned) money to spend. But in the very near future, Generation Z is going to be flexing its financial muscle and, when it does, it’s going to make an enormous impact on the economy. Therefore, it is up to businesspeople to do whatever they can to find out how best to market to Zers.
Unfortunately, that information isn’t necessarily available yet, since Generation Z is only now beginning to enter the workforce en masse, but medical spa owners and operators should at the very least be aware of the seismic shift that may be on the way and do whatever they can to keep track of emerging trends in Gen Z business. AmSpa will of course be following this story from a medical aesthetic perspective, and you should check out publications such as Inc to learn about broader business trends.
Businesspeople underestimate these young people at their peril, so be sure to learn all you can about them.