Our world is fast-paced—and digitized. Busier than ever before, automated lifestyles have created an “always connected” mentality. From office emails to social media to e-commerce, our digital devices are pulling us further away from the physical, slower-paced world to the virtual, at-your-fingertips one. This erosion of balance between the real and the surreal has forced many brands to rethink how they engage consumers to create meaningful impact—especially consumers falling within the largest and most technology-driven generation to date: millennials.
Familiar with a culture that’s never disconnected and as digital natives themselves, millennials are especially prone to more screen time and less face-to-face interaction. Contact with tangible objects, experiences that evoke the senses, and those that bring them closer to the ones they love are yearned for. This has led to the emergence of three key consumer drivers behind the textures trend in personal care: escapism, playfulness and bonding. By incorporating unique textures and sensorial properties into their products, brands are quenching consumers’—and millennials’—thirst for the real world and engaging them in stress-free experiences for every lifestyle.
The Desire for a Great Escape
Although millennials are the most-connected generation, they are also the age group most prone to loneliness. A study from the Office for National Statistics found that young adults aged 16 to 24 were over three times more likely to agree with feeling “always or often” lonely than people aged 65 and over. With 91% stating that their electronic devices are their primary source of fun and entertainment, a clear imbalance exists between time spent with others versus time glued to a device. This translates to less focus on “real” friendships and more focus on maintaining one’s social image, behavior which has been cited as a dominant factor in millennials’ mental health problems.
Though the digital social culture provides instant gratification through “likes” on photos or quick shipping to your doorstep, 71% of consumers still believe it’s important to visit a store and experience a product in person. From fun packaging and unique product forms to interaction with sales experts, this desire to stimulate the senses and escape isolation can surpass a convenient path to purchase.
Coinciding with these findings, our team developed the Salt & Sun, Sprayable Body Wash, a cleanser with a playful, jiggly texture that sprays like a fine mist to deliver a distinctive cleansing experience. The coconut-fragranced formula is designed to alleviate the stresses of selfie culture by evoking a carefree state of mind reminiscent of a day at the beach.
Working Hard, Playing Harder
The inability to find downtime within busy, everyday schedules has left many millennial's searching for outlets from stressful days. This has resulted in more adults engaging in child-like or playful activities. Mintel reports that 60% of consumers believe that toys and games are for both adults and children, and 87% have played online games in the last three months.
This search for joy within the day-to-day has led many brands to launch products that add a touch of playfulness to the everyday. From hosting pop-up shops to offering product customization, brands are giving consumers more options to spice up their daily routines and everyday looks—all with the goal of infusing an element of fun into otherwise mundane activities.
In light of this trend driver, we created the Refresh & Relax, Micellar Facial Cleansing Gel, a new, innovative take on the industry-trending micellar water cleansers. Featuring a stand-out icy texture that quickly melts into skin and rinses away impurities, the formula offers a playful switch-up from typical face washing while still getting the job done.
Textures That Build Parent-Child Bonds
With 42% of millennials representing the “older generation,” many within this group are making more financial commitments and starting families of their own. As the costs of raising children have risen, more and more homes have both parents working now than ever before. This leads to many seeking meaningful ways to bond with their kids during limited times throughout the week. As many parents arrive home in the evenings with a few hours or less to serve dinner and prepare everyone for bed, many brands have focused on finding engaging ways to turn simple acts like bathing, washing hands and brushing teeth into fun experiences.
To help parents find more meaning in these wee hours, our team developed the Wash & Play, Hand Cleansing Jelly. The formula is a playful, moldable, made-for-fun hand soap that brings new shape to helping parents promote healthy habits and protect sensitive skin. As a dual-purpose product, it enables parents to build-in extra time with their little ones while promoting good hygiene.
Keeping the market drivers of escapism, playfulness and bonding top of mind, Lubrizol launched Bubbly Break, a collection of textured prototypes designed to meet a broad range of millennial lifestyles and needs.