To what extent is the consumer behaviour of Millennials different to that of previous generations (Generation X, Baby Boomers) in luxury beauty products? Well, to answer that question the generations must be identified. Millennials, Generation Xers, Baby Boomers – all of them are people existing in today's current society. All of them have the same basic needs, and yet their buying patterns and behaviours are different. Once they have been identified by brands, the products can be tailored to the generation (Foxall, 1990). This process is called segmentation and is crucial in the framework of consumer behaviour. But this too is dependent on numerous factors (Erasmus, et al, 2001).
The Millennial generation includes those born from 1980 up to the early 2000’s. It is also referred to as Generation Y (Main, 2013). With the members of this generation traditionally growing up and experiencing many new forms of digital and technological advances from a younger age compared with the previous generations; Millennials generally learn new digital skills and can adapt with technology advances faster than the previous generation. This is due to the age of the generation and learning rates within them.
Generation X is harder to place. It’s the generation immediately following the Baby Boomers and precedes the Millennials. Typically speaking; this generation was born in the 1960-1980 period (Brosdahl & Carpenter, 2011). With the main marketing techniques being TV or print media. With computers, still being mainly office based, marketing products online would not be common or effective. This is the generation that would purchase the first home computers, most likely for work purposes – but this generation is now being tailored to become online consumers. With online retailers becoming more popular in response to ease of accessibility and availability of products multiple generations are choosing to forgo the traditional purchasing route, and order products online – this has led to consumer’s leaving online reviews and relying on the reviews/ratings of these products.
Baby Boomers are the generation born from 1940 – 1960. So called boomers because of the large opportunities available to them, they did not have the same technological advantages that Millennials have. They are less likely purchase products through the internet, but they are more likely to wait for a product to become available in-store than the Millennial generation.
The sociological model of consumer behaviour relies on the consumer being heavily influenced by society. It also works on the basis that the consumer will then influence society by reviewing the product and contributing to the wider function of society. For this model to function the consumer needs to both engage with the product, the company and society. This model works through a process involving the marketers looking at the segmentation of their target audience. When using luxury products such as high end makeup the type of platform the products are advertised on is essential to the level and how affective the engagement has been. Traditionally, high end makeup is advertised in print media such as luxury magazines (Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle), at department stores or through broadcast media such as television. This would be the case for previous generations such as the Baby Boomers and Generation X.
The Howard Sheath Model of buying behaviour works on a basis of explaining why consumers make purchases without knowing all the information available to them. This occurs when variables influence the consumer as opposed to information. These variables can be direct stimuli such as the environment the consumer is in, the response to the stimuli, motives or other variables (Desai, 2017). The model however can be criticised as it can be difficult to follow. The variables can be hard to define and can often be viewed as needlessly complex. In the case of Millennials using luxury makeup products, the sociological model is a more desirable framework. The segmentation described can only occur if the consumer participates in the desired behaviours of society.