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43% of Gen Z never buy beauty products tested on animals, research reveals

Tom Shearsmith
14 November 2022

UK students are taking a stand against animal testing and harmful ingredients in the beauty products they purchase, according to a new report from UNiDAYS.

The report, which surveyed 4,845 students, reveals what Gen Z want from beauty brands, providing crucial insights into a demographic that is set to spend most of their holiday shopping budgets on beauty and fashion this year.

The report suggests that 60% of UK students are planning on purchasing fashion items and 40% planning on buying beauty products as holiday gifts. It found that UK students are willing to spend 10-20% more for ethically sourced and vegan beauty products and 37% refuse to buy products that include harmful ingredients.

The Ordinary, MAC Cosmetics, and Benefit Cosmetics, all of which do not test on animals and advocate ending animal testing globally, are the most popular beauty brands with Gen Z.

While 7 in 10 have checked if a product has been tested on animals, 2 in 5 have never checked to see if a product contains microplastics or palm oil. When asked the most important factor when deciding which beauty brands to shop for, students ranked environmentally conscious and sustainability among the top three factors they consider.

The report also highlighted the value of social media, with 62% of UK students agreeing that social media is the primary platform used to keep up with the latest beauty trends, news and tips, with Instagram the go-to destination for the majority (80%).

In addition, influencers play a crucial role for Gen Z when it comes to beauty purchase decisions. A third of UK students (34%) use influencers to keep up with the latest in the world of beauty, with nearly two-thirds (63%) of these respondents more likely to purchase a beauty product that uses influencers in their advertising.

UK students are ready to hit the high street this Christmas, with nearly half (47%) preferring a mixture of the in-store and online shopping experience, and over a quarter (28%) opting for mainly in-store.

There are several factors that fuel Gen Z’s desire for the in-store experience. Namely, they like the opportunity to see the item before they buy it (81%), test the item (65%), and take their purchases straight home (57%).

Alex Gallagher, Chief Strategy Officer at UNiDAYS, commented: “UK students are ready to find their next favourite beauty product – but they have conditions that must be recognised. Our report found that Gen Z actively look for brands that maintain the highest ethical standards, they are passionate about sustainability and environmental issues and expect brands to reflect this.

“Brands should take the above into account when considering their business practices and product ingredients. Moreover, it’s beneficial for brands to clearly communicate their cruelty free and environmentally friendly practices in their brand messaging. These efforts are key to earning the trust and loyalty of this hyper-aware, hyper connected demographic.”

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