As the at-home beauty device market continues to swell, new and existing entrants are targeting millennial and Gen-Z customers to expand their presence.
Earlier this year, Kline & Company reported that the U.S. beauty device market had reached $650 million, fueled by the acne category — not anti-aging — which grew over 40 percent in 2017.
Leading the charge is Melanie Simon, founder and chief executive officer of ZIIP Beauty. The company is behind a 2-year-old handheld tool cleared by the FDA that targets a host of skin concerns with electrical treatments through an online app. After logging into the app, users are guided through seven short videos that showcase different nano current regimes that users are to follow with the ZIIP — Simon calls them “electrical cocktails — to treat issues, like acne and hyperpigmenation. (The patented software actually enables 10 million treatment combinations.) Simon, an electrical esthetician, launched a new treatment-conductive gel, called Silver, last week that promotes hydration, collagen production and an all-around glow, among other benefits that have proved appealing to millennials and Gen Z.
“We’ve had a much younger demographic than we ever anticipated,” said Simon of ZIIP, since Silver’s launch. “The Silver gel is about hydration and clear skin, and it’s a formula good for sensitive skin types, whereas Gold deals with aging concerns. Our top customer tier is now [age] 25 to 35, and the next is 18 to 25.” Price point was also a key consideration, as the original Gold gel retails for $129 — the new Silver gel is much less expensive, at $50. (The device itself is $495.)
Simon credits the millennial and Gen-Z demographic’s interest in video content and their general tech savviness for the brand’s incredible growth. For instance, ZIIP saw sales grow five times between 2016 and 2017 (the brand declined to disclose specific sales figures), and in the last seven months alone, the brand has seen nearly 100,000 views of the seven treatment videos available via the app.
“ZIIP totally makes sense to this age group,” Simon said. “Everything is done through an app, and they watch video tutorials they want to learn about. There can be so many educational hurdles for other age groups, and this generation has jumped over them.”
Of course, other at-home facial devices have popped up in recent years, including NuFace and Madonna’s MDNA Skin Rejuvenator Set. More continue to surface, too, especially those using Bluetooth-enabled app technology that ZIIP employs — certainly a millennial- and Gen Z-friendly feature — like UVBioTek’s Poly Go and Dr. Ellen Marmur’s October MMSphere. Poly Go, for one, is indeed riding the opportunity to reach younger clientele, said Robert Rossell, the brand’s chief commercial officer — it will be targeting acne specifically with a new at-home unit later this year.
Instagram and IGTV, where ZIIP’s audience lives (it currently has more than 15,000 followers), are specifically driving interest and sales. User-generated content has helped humanize the electric device, especially for young demographics. And celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, Mandy Moore and Phoebe Tonkin, who have organically posted about ZIIP to their audiences, have been instrumental in getting the word out.
Simon herself also provides “hacks” on Instagram Stories and IGTV that go beyond the regular treatment instructions on the app, promoting the device as multi-functional.
Co-founder David Mason pointed to the popularity of the #ziiplips hashtag as reflection of the brand’s success. “Melanie played around with the VitalEyes treatment [on the app], using it to plump her lips to great effect. We posted about it, step by step, on Instagram and demoed it on a few people. One of those people, Violet Grey founder Cassandra Grey, was so enamored with her results that, soon after, Melanie was filming [Grey] showing how to hack VitalEyes for #ziiplips,” he said. “By combining results, entertaining education, and user-generated content and testimonials, we will cultivate an expanding, engaged and excited audience. We’ve focused on visual platforms, and our brand has been able to thrive.”