In an age of selfie-loving millennials, medical aesthetic treatments like wrinkle-smoothers and fillers are a booming business.
It’s this demographic that Allergan, the maker of the blockbuster Botox drug, is hoping to appeal to with a new strategy of going after younger consumers who aren’t yet ready to treat the fine lines that are just starting to appear around the corners of their eyes — but might be in the coming years.
The push comes as Allergan is fending off competition from rival pharma companies who are making their own copycat wrinkle treatments and hoping to grab a slice of the multi-billion market for aesthetics.
Allergan’s medical aesthetics business — including Botox and Juvederm — in 2017 accounted for $2.4 billion in revenue. Allergan’s plan is to broaden out the market so even if other drugmakers come in and compete, the overall pie will have expanded. It expects to double that market by 2025, Allergan chief commercial officer Bill Meury told Business Insider.
To help win over millennials, Allergan brought in Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, a co-founder of Gilt Groupe, an e-commerce flash sale site, as senior vice president of consumer strategy and innovation to spearhead a new digital effort.
The first step of that strategy: a website called “Spotlyte”, which looks like a mainstream beauty blog including guides to the seven best hair masks, top makeup artists sharing tips for smoother-looking lips, and interviews with celebrities like TV host Pili Montilla dishing on her skin care regimen.
There’s also a live chat feature where users can ask their most pressing medical aesthetics questions to “Allergan specialists” as well as a find-a-doctor feature that provides a directory of dermatologists and plastic surgeons in the area.
To the untrained eye, it might not be obvious that the site is curated by a pharmaceutical company (though in smaller print underneath Spotlyte’s logo, it does say “by Allergan.”)
The average Botox-customer is a 44-year-old woman.
Allergan’s Meury estimates there are about 50-60 million Americans considering getting treated via Botox, but only about 4 million go through with it.
“We wanted to make sure that while they’re in the consideration phase, they have access to great information, and that’s why we developed Spotlyte,” he told Business Insider in an interview.
To be sure, Allergan isn’t the only medical aesthetics company targeting the younger generation. Evolus, one of the companies developing a Botox competitor, has also said their market includes millennials.
Millennials and Botox
Allergan has already started to dip its toes into expanding the aesthetics market, including going after male millennial, a phenomenon dubbed “Brotox.”
Morningstar analyst Michael Waterhouse said that while middle-aged women will remain the core customer for Botox, it makes sense for Allergan to expand the market pool by going after younger customers and men.
“As this the millennial generation moves into the young professional workforce, they have disposable income and appearance is important to this group,” he said.
Targeting consumers who are just starting to consider Botox is just step one for the company, Meury said. After that, Allergan is looking to the success of businesses with subscription models, such as razor companies, to see if there’s a way to apply that to aesthetics treatments to make them more affordable. That’ll require working directly with dermatologists and plastic surgeons who are ultimately in charge of injecting treatments like Botox and Juvederm.
“The best years of aesthetics are ahead of us, not behind us,” Meury said.