In the US, the market for personal care products is currently valued at $36.6 billion,[1] and is projected to grow to $134 billion by 2025.[2] 

While some of this market growth can be attributed to a rise in income for Millennials, the lion’s share will come from the increasing appetite among Boomers and Gen Xers for anti-aging treatments and personal care devices and products.

When it comes to personal care brands, Boomers tend to feel like they’re done with experimenting. They know what they like, and stick with the brands they trust. When they do decide to make a change, they rely heavily on recommendations from friends and family.

Generation X is a little more flexible, but also apt to trust personal recommendations above all else. Despite this seemingly strong need for corroboration among Gen Xers and Boomers, consumers in both groups can be persuaded to try a new brand by an in-store promotion.3

As the roughly 139-million-strong combined Boomer and Gen X population continues to age, what can marketers do to capture more consumer interest?




Consumers Told Us: Rebates Make a Difference

In February of 2018, research firm Leger conducted an online survey on behalf of Hawk Incentives to measure consumer attitudes with regard to promotional incentives.4 Respondents were asked about their shopping habits and reward preferences relative to 11 different spending categories, including personal care products. Here’s what we learned:

  • Shoppers are finding deeper value in rebates over other promotions
  • Consumers are increasingly searching out products with rebates
  • Rebates function as an effective customer acquisition method.

When we asked our survey participants to select the single spending category for which they most desired rebates, the personal care vertical was the number-two selection among both Gen Xers and Boomers, as well as for both women and men. For Gen Xers, it ranked just behind the auto aftermarket category. Boomers’ number-one pick was home building/remodeling.

Later in the survey, we asked participants if they had either made a personal care brand switch in the previous 12 months, or were thinking about switching brands in the next 12 months. Among those who responded “Yes,” 77% said they would respond to a rebate promotion for a personal care purchase over another type of incentive promotion.




Physical rewards trump digital rewards

Where it gets really interesting for marketers in the personal care vertical is when we look at reward type preference. We asked our survey participants about their preference for physical rewards (e.g., prepaid cards, store-branded gift cards) versus digital rewards (digital prepaid cards, ecodes, egifts). Although the difference overall was negligible within this category, when we broke down the responses by age demographic, we spotted an increasing preference for physical rewards in tandem with the increase in the age of the respondent:



This preference for physical rewards among Gen Xers and Boomers falls in line with the Euromonitor data that showed a preference among the same generational cohorts for in-store promotions versus online promotions.4

For you, this means your best bet for enticing a brand-loyal consumer to try a new personal care brand is to offer an in-store rebate promotion, and then fulfill the rebate with a physical prepaid or gift card.
We also found that physical rewards were preferred over digital rewards by those who:

  • do not own a smartphone,
  • own their homes and
  • make $40k+ per year, which also suggests these may be older (read: non-Millennial) consumers.

Year-over-year comparison

When we compared the results of this year’s survey with those from 2017, we found that:

  • 35% of consumers consider themselves “avid bargain hunters,” and are more likely to be on the hunt for promotions this year than they were last year
  • Most purchase decisions come down to price, with quality a close number-two (and it’s really close for Boomers)
  • Versus last year’s survey, more people are actively searching out products that offer rebates
  • People are more willing to enroll in a loyalty program during the rebate process than they were last year (43% for 2018 versus 33% for 2017).

Rebates offer marketing opportunities over other types of promotions

Consumer preference for rebates is really good news for personal care marketers, because the rebate process gives you benefits you can’t get with sales, discounts or coupons. Not only can you ask for more customer data during the rebate process—you can actually get it! Ninety percent of our survey respondents said they would be willing to complete at least one of the following activities during the rebate process:

  • Review the product or service in question (highest among Boomers)
  • Complete a short survey (high for both Gen X and Boomers)
  • Enroll in a loyalty program (highest among Gen X, with Millennials a close second)
  • Refer a friend
  • Share the purchase on a social network.

When you ask for the right information at the right time—and you promise a rebate upon delivery—consumers are actually willing to open up and share information with you.

Plus, when you fulfill that rebate with a branded physical prepaid or gift card, you create an additional reason for the customer to return to your store.

Find out what rebates can do for you

If you’re interested in learning more about the practical application of rebates to your industry, get in touch with us here, or give us a call. We can walk you through use cases, provide more details from our research, and give you a clearer picture of how a rebate-based promotion could help you acquire new customers and build additional loyalty.