The demands of Millennials – how to better understand & meet them

American Board-certified dermatologist Dr Hassan Galadari shares his insights into the unique characteristics of Millennials and the new strategies required to meet their needs.

Millennials are now the largest living generation and will become the aesthetic practitioner’s biggest patient population group. From Instagram Stories to SnapChat, Millennials are on trend, and that means aesthetic practitioners must be too.

There are 2.3 billion Millennials, eclipsing Gen X and Baby Boomers, and account for 32% of the world’s population; by 2025, they will make up 75% of the world’s working population. And they’re taking on the world in a different way.

In a recent webinar for Fillmed’s E-Academy, UAE-based American board-certified dermatologist Dr Hassan Galadari stressed that capturing this generation of patients requires a different consultation and treatment approach. ‘Millennials now comprise the bulk of my patient population,’ he says. ‘As aesthetic practitioners, it’s important for us to understand the characteristics of this rising patient group so we can cater our services to them.’ Millennials are characterised mainly by the quest for meaning, self-fulfillment, sharing, and social and environmental awareness.

Possession of material objects is not their priority; in the US, 60% would rather spend money on experiences.

‘In cosmetic practice, this translates to Millennials not just wanting to be injected with a cosmetic product but to truly experience your practice and the connections you make with them,’ says Dr Galadari.

WHO ARE MILLENNIALS?

Millennials, now in their 20s and 30s, are the first generation of ‘digital natives’; they have grown up in a world where digital technology is ubiquitous and part of their daily lives. ‘Their natural habitat is online and they consume most of their news and information via social media platforms, on which they also share their experiences and find inspiration for their ever-changing consumer habits,’ says Dr Galadari.

‘Millennials want to create change and they use their digital platforms to spread that message.’ Millennials are also smart consumers; they are more likely to use online reviews and do price comparisons to make informed decisions. Be warned: this means they are more likely to try to negotiate on price.

Millennials will tell you exactly what they want and the very savvy ones will tell you how they want it done. This can be both positive and negative, but if you reach a midpoint, you’re really able to achieve optimal cosmetic results.

‘This generation is curious by nature, which plays a vital role in the success of the consultation process,’ he continues. ‘They make fewer poor decisions which ultimately results in better aesthetic outcomes. Unlike, for example, Gen X, who may not look at reviews online or research information about a procedure, Millennials have done their homework. They will tell you exactly what they want and the very savvy ones will tell you how they want it done. This can be both positive and negative, but if you reach a midpoint, you’re really able to achieve optimal cosmetic results.

‘Millennials are also easily distracted, and this needs to be taken into account in cosmetic practice. If they request their lips filled but they already have voluminous lips, they may not like it when you advise against the procedure. The key is to distract them from procedures that may not be necessary to perform and to make them aware of procedures that may actually be of importance.

This distraction tool becomes very useful when patients come in requesting to look like the Instagram-filtered image of themselves.’

Gen Y has a reputation for being self-centred – but this should be viewed not as narcissism but a celebration of their uniqueness.

‘This uniqueness is important in a cosmetic setting because sometimes they will come to me explicitly saying they don’t want to be changed into looking like somebody else,’ he explains. ‘This is in contrast to previous generations pointing to a picture in a magazine and saying “I want to look like this”.

A lot of Millennials want to retain their natural look, and a “less is more” approach is needed when treating these patients.’

WHAT DO MILLENNIALS WANT?

‘Millennials want instant gratification and recognition,’ says Dr Galadari.

‘This population group was brought up by Baby Boomers who gave them constant praise. In cosmetic practice, this translates into patients wanting instant results from their treatments – they don’t typically want to see results gradually over a series of treatments.’

Dr Galadari says Millennials are also specific about what they want: a fuller bottom lip compared to top lip, tear trough treatment for undereye circles, a highly defined chin and jawline. They also may be specific on what they want to pay.

‘Having a portfolio of products to offer them for their specific needs enables the minimum amount of product injected for a maximum effect. This less is more approach is key to capturing the Millennial market. For example, instead of using one filler for all needs, optimised use of indication-specific HA fillers will achieve an optimal outcome with a limited number of syringes. By using the right product in the right location, you can avoid using more product and offer more effective, natural-looking and costeffective outcomes.’

Millennials enjoy collaboration and connection, so if they’re happy with their experience with you, they will tell others, most likely on social media. ‘Make sure their first impression of you and your practice leaves them with a bang – as they will be using their experience to formulate their online reviews. And don’t be surprised if the friend who accompanied them to their appointment tags you on social media also… and comes back to see you for their own appointment,’ he says.

One of the most important characteristics of Millennials from an aesthetic practice perspective is that they want transparency: treatments have to work and they desire open and honest communication with their doctor.

‘Don’t oversell what a treatment can do,’ Dr Galadari warns. ‘They are prone to doctor shopping, so you can’t afford not to capture them once they walk through your doors.

Gravitate towards treatment that delivers an effective, straightforward and reliable outcome.

‘Exposed to so much advertising throughout their lives, they’re wary of medical jargon and meaningless buzzwords. They just want you to keep it real. You have to be authentic and match your advertised image on social media.

If the treatment results or overall experience don’t match what you’ve promised them, they’re not coming back.’

Another interesting insight is that the Millennial patient population group want diversity and combination therapies – they can be suspicious if only one treatment option is given. ‘These patients know you can’t build a house with a hammock. They are suspicious of one tool that fixes everything.

Even with injectables, they will be wary of a product that can be used to treat all areas of the face.

Offer different products from your injectables portfolio for specific areas of the face, for example lips vs chin vs cheekbones. It’s imperative you have a full suite of filler ranges with different virological properties specific to different parts of the face.

‘The important takeaway is: Describe multiple treatment modalities – offering combination therapy specific to their needs is how you will retain the Millennial patient group.’

FEMALE BEAUTY ASPIRATIONS & ‘MEDICAL’ HIGHLIGHTING

Females in this generation want:

  • Raised, well-defined eyebrows
  • Fuller cheeks with lateral projection
  • Natural fullness to lips with a ratio of 1:2 where the upper lip is smaller than bottom
  • Pointed chin with outward projection
  • Well-defined jawline with mandibular angle.

To achieve these specific beauty aspirations, Dr Galadari says ‘medical’ highlighting and an artistic approach are required. This means adopting a makeup artist’s perspective, but instead of using brushes and makeup, you’re using needle and cannulas. The goal is to sculpt the face by working with light and shadow to create a 3D effect. The four strategic lightreflecting convex zones of the face should be assessed: tail of the eyebrow, cheekbones (especially the zygomatic arch), lip area and chin.

‘While looking at an anatomical aspect is important to avoid danger zones, I also factor in a ‘medical’ highlighting effect, especially when I’m dealing with Millennials. I look at how makeup artists transform a person’s face using contouring and highlighting makeup and replicate this using injectable products. For example, we know the zygomatic arch needs to be lifted to a certain height to cause a shadow and contouring effect,’ he explains.

MALE BEAUTY ASPIRATIONS

Males in this generation want:

  • Botulinum toxin for natural, subtle, rejuvenation
  • Defined cheekbones (but with less projection than females – the zygomatic arch should be avoided and injection should be in the medial aspect)
  • Square chin existing from and to the oral commissures.

Dr Galadari says many male patients today are after rejuvenation, particularly to improve skin quality, representing a shift away from the more rugged look. ‘Cosmetic rejuvenation for the male face involves looking at structure, shape and skin quality. There are four facial zones to masculinise: temple, cheek bones, chin and mandibular angle.

I believe the male population group has the most potential for growth,’ he adds.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR THE CURRENT POPULATION

‘Baby Boomers will become more engaged online and on social media; online referrals will overtake traditional word of mouth referrals,’ Dr Galadari predicts. ‘It’s therefore important for practices to utilise more of their social media platforms to capture this population group.’

Gen Xers are looking for succession plans, be it in the form of teaching, writing or coaching. Post- COVID, they may focus on other matters rather than personal care.

‘A successful engagement with them should be through a more focused consultation, and to be there for them each step of the way in their cosmetic journey. Protocols are very beneficial for this group of patients,’ he says.

Millennials are predicted to shift their priorities towards personal and professional stability, particularly given the events of 2020. They will still be the most engaging generation in terms of cosmetic procedures. Given this shift in priorities, there may be a trend of more doctor loyalty vs doctor shopping. Price may still be an issue given the emerging circumstances but negotiations may be less.

‘Following a less is more approach, with authenticity and transparency, is essential to attract, retain and satisfy the Millennial patient. By injecting optimally with indicator-specific products, best possible results can be achieved in the most efficient and cost effective manner,’ Dr Galadari concludes. AMP


Sources: Fillmed e-Academy learning: How to better understand and answer to the demands of Millennials, Dr Hassan Galadari, April, 2020; Goldman Sachs Asset Management: Investing in the Millennial Effect, September, 2016

Who are your patients?

23% Gen Y (Millennials) born 1981-1996

23% Baby Boomers born 1946-1964

20% Gen X Born 1965-1980

19% Gen Z born 1997-2012

9% Silent Generation born 1928-1945

Millennial Characteristics

  • Multi-taskers / multi-skilled leaders
  • Juggle many responsibilities – family, work, friends – on a daily basis
  • Switch from personal projects (arts, sports) to political ones (ecology, social justice) and cross them together to find actionable solutions
  • Change-makers who use their digital platforms to spread their messages to their community and reach new audiences beyond
  • Easily distracted
  • Heavy social media users
  • Tech-savvy

Famous Millennials

Ana de Armas Actress and next Bond girl
Kylie Jenner First millennial self-made billionaire
Huda Kattan Founder & CEO of Huda Beauty, 46.8 million Instagram followers
Mark Zuckerberg Founder & CEO of Facebook

About Dr Hassan Galadari

Dr Hassan Galadari is an American board certified graduate of the Boston University/Tufts University dermatology programme in the USA. Dr Galadari completed a dermatologic surgery and laser fellowship in the University of California, San Francisco. He currently works as an Assistant Professor of Dermatology in the UAE University as well as in private practice in Dubai.