Millennials on the Move


Millennials now total 83.1 million people in the United States, making this generation over a third of the country’s population and the demographic majority.1 The generation’s ages range from 18 to 41, and 53% of millennial households already have children (one in four millennials are parents).2 In 2018, the projected income of millennials will be about $3.39 trillion annually, surpassing baby boomers.3 Millennials make up 21% of discretionary purchases, which is estimated to be over a trillion dollars in direct buying power and have a huge influence on other generations.2 These highly influential young adults are redefining what affluence means in the United States. Today, high income is not reflected in the products they own but rather in the experiences they collect and how they share them. Millennials are digital natives at their core, and their desire to make a difference is impacting the way spas and the skin care industry are doing business all over the world.

Who Are They?

Millennials are by far the most diverse generation. They are influencers, change makers, and they seek authenticity. They value products and services that enhance their lives and are good for the planet. Millennials are the ultimate day traders; they day trade on services and products in their real life. They will make decisions to spend a little more or a little less all day long. The majority say they are willing to purchase a product or service to support a cause they believe in, even if it means paying a bit more.

Millennials go through cycles, including: excitement, love, boredom and change. When they love a product, they tell family and friends, but boredom with a product often leads to quick change.

You could think this is being disloyal, but it is their culture. They are not collecting brand and service products but rather brand and service experiences. They are not into storytelling, but rather story living. They are looking for bold actions, and love services that figure out how to be intentionally useful and practical, with a twist of purpose and meaning. Millennials are co-creators and consumer partners. They have a huge “change the world” theme, and they want to experience life. Because they are the very first adopters of all new digital social and mobile products, and over half of all millennials have over 200 Facebook friends, we have to always be looking at uniqueness, innovation and meaning in our services and products.

As spa owners and skin care professionals, how do we reach the largest, most influential generation of consumers ever? Because of millennial diversity, we have many exciting avenues that we can take with the services that we now provide.

Holistic Approach to Beauty

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Facial and body treatments with a holistic approach, now represent the largest segment of millennial purchases. This can be directly attributed to the health and wellness trend that has become part of their daily lives. Millennial women tend to purchase natural, sustainable and organic beauty products. In addition to serums, lotions and creams, herbal tinctures, vitamins and nutritional supplements that work from the inside out are an important part of their regime.

The alignment of beauty and wellness offers an opportunity to speak to the client on an entirely different level, appealing to her lifestyle, how she feels, acts and stands in the world, not just the way she looks. Beauty and wellness continue to be the definitive lifestyle choice of women across all demographics. This is an exciting time in the spa and skin care industry. In this changing environment, it is essential to create tailored experiences in our treatment rooms and spas. To create a personal story, start with an herbal tea and a relaxing and refreshing peppermint or lavender foot soak. Follow with a menu of a single essential oil or a blend of essential oils added to an unscented mask, serum or massage oil to create a meaningful journey. Each time they visit, they will have a different, unique experience.

Age Prevention

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding millennials in terms of skin care habits is that they have a lack of concern regarding skin aging. Instead of treating signs of aging once they’re already present, members of this generation are playing it smart and focusing on prevention.

Instead of treating fine lines, they are nourishing the skin with organic botanicals, essential oils and nut/seed carrier oils.

Instead of concealing, they are all about great skin care that will give them a complexion that has nothing to hide. They want to be able to make sense of the ingredient list before purchasing a product. This is why they invest their money in great toners, cleansers and moisturizers while taking their time to complete an extensive, multi-step skin routine that leaves their skin ready for the minimal amount of makeup.

Millennials know the importance of sun protection. They want their skin to be blemish free, prepped and primed, for naturally glowing and “Insta-worthy” skin. Thus, they are more interested in investing in the appearance of beautiful, luminous skin. For the selfie generation, they are avid consumers of retail personal care products, so it is imperative that your business carry products that align with your vision and purpose.

Dare to Disconnect

As a generation who is not only all about innovation but also originality and practicality, millennials do not follow trends, they set them. One great example of their innovative spirit is the phenomenon of multitasking. Because they come from an era of rapid change, anxiety can overwhelm and social pressures can grow causing them to need a place where they can unplug and connect with their intuitive side. The desire is there, and we have to create the space for that to happen. Menus that offer openness, relaxation and rejuvenation will have them coming back for more to their own personal sanctuary. Lavender eye pillows, soft music and a gentle head and foot massage all help the achieve the ahh and reconnect.

Value and Bargain

While often being accused of being frivolous spenders, millennials are actually quite savvy when it comes to purchasing. They read reviews, text with friends, look for discounts and seek value and meaning. Even though over 10 million millennials make 100,000 dollars per year, and over 50% of this population are women, they won’t waste their disposable income on just any product or service, and they will not be tied down when there are too many choices at their disposal.

Millennials value authenticity more than anything else. They need to trust a service or product before they’ll engage with or purchase it. The best way to build rapport with millennials and win them over is to show them that other users trust you too. Millennials often use user generated content (UGC), which refers to pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts and everything in between and is the act of them promoting your service or product rather than the business itself.

Meaning for Men

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We have seen a rapid increase in millennial men who are in sync with their female counterparts in grooming and spa visits. They too like personalized treatments that include massage, facial treatments and body hair removal. There has been a concern among millennial men of early hair loss. They are seeking treatments that will restore and stimulate their hair follicles. This is due to overall stress, multitasking, constant overstimulation, chemical hair styling products and “being in their head.” A warm or iced cup of nettle tea and a rejuvenating hair and scalp massage with herbal infused sesame oil and rosemary essential oil will create circulation to the scalp and relax the body, mind and spirit. Regular visits and home care suggestions of 10 minutes on a slant board to bring circulation to the scalp, along with massaging the head while it is between their knees, will create stimulation and blood flow.

Family Dynamics

More than 1 million millennials are becoming moms each year, and 52% said being a good parent was one of the most important goals in their lives. Among millennials, 60% said that being a parent is extremely important to their overall identity.4 Creating an atmosphere of inclusion, where the parents can be pampered either with their children or while their children are at play, is appealing and needed. Family is important, and they tend to do their planning of events as a unit. The fastest growing millennials are those over 30 making $250,000 a year. Because they are influencers, many millennials have close ties to their own parents and will often spread the word of great service and unique, individualized treatments.

Enough Millennials for Everyone

With such a diverse generation of people who are leading the way in population and world views, and who are dynamic and socially aware, there is great opportunity to fine tune your niche in their world. When you stand for something more than your bottom line, millennials will stand with you and share it with those areound them. Millennials want to believe in something more than the product you are selling. Businesses that stand for more than their bottom line, have a purpose, give back to their community and are real will receive their blessing and their genuine commitment.


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Kim Manley is the creator and formulator of KM Herbals, as well as a practicing AromaHerbalist, massage therapist, flower essence practitioner, Reiki practitioner, educator and researcher.

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