Millenopause is here — and brands and health care providers are responding accordingly.
Millennials, who are between ages 27 and 42, are just beginning to enter into perimenopause, which can begin up to a decade before menopause — the average age for entering menopause, the stage when periods have ceased for 12 consecutive months, is 51. Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause, where menstruation still occurs, although it may be irregular. The same symptoms, like hot flashes or low libido, may also occur during this stage, which can last for 10 years.
Millennials’ habits look a little different in comparison to their GenX and Baby Boomer counterparts. Growing up with the internet, social media, a constant influx of new brands and an innate curiosity, Millennials have been focused on asking questions, accessing solutions immediately and demanding what they need.
“[Millennials] did revolutionize fertility conversations, sexuality, endometriosis, the conversation around miscarriages. There were so many things about their bodies that they demanded better information, and now this is the community of people beginning to see the early stages of perimenopause,” said Michelle Jacobs, cofounder and chief operating officer of menopause solutions brand Womaness. “This customer is going to want better product, better information.”
With this, brands and health care providers are preparing for a shift when it comes to conversations around menopause: digital components will become more important than ever; how content is presented will shift; and the Millennial patient will be more educated than any generation before.
Women’s health care company Bonafide Health’s 2023 State of Menopause survey showed that 48 percent of respondents were seeking answers online rather than from a health care provider. Furthermore, the Pew Research Center reports that 93 percent of Millennials use a smartphone and 86 percent are on social media, making these modes more important than ever.
One brand expanding its digital reach is Womaness, which offers a slew of skin care, vaginal care and supplements for those in menopause. The brand has more than 27,000 followers on Instagram and more than 111,000 views on its TikTok hashtag, while it also has its expert-driven blog The Ness and Facebook group The After Party.
“She’s pretty skeptical, so if she trusts a voice then she responds,” said Womaness cofounder and chief operating officer Sally Mueller of the Millennial consumer, noting the brand taps trusted influencers to spread its message.
“Authenticity is a leading brand quality that Millennials gravitate towards when making purchase decisions,” said Maria Toler Velissaris, founding partner at SteelSky Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests specifically in women’s health care. “Millennials resonate far more with real life user-generated stories and testimonials, i.e. the women who are directly receiving care than from educational literature from their doctors or health insurance.”
Across its retail channels, which include direct-to-consumer, Ulta Beauty and Target, Womaness has experienced 35 to 40 percent growth. Specific items that perform well for the brand include routine videos and memes, both types of content that the average Millennial is used to consuming.
“We try to bring some humor, some lightness,” said Jacobs. “Menopause is not terminal.”
While educational content is key, experts suggest opting for shorter forms in the future.
“They’ve grown up so much more on social media,” said Mueller. “She might have a shorter attention span. She’s used to consuming more bite-sized pieces of information.”
Wile, a supplement brand for women over 40, launched with the intention of addressing the perimenopausal customer specifically, many of which are Millennials. This manifests itself through certain products like the brand’s 40+ Period Support, $40, as irregular menstrual cycles are common during this time. Social engagement is also key for the brand, which has more than 29,000 followers on Instagram, the platform that resonates most with its core customer, according to the team.
For Wile, which closed 2022 with $2.8 million in sales, partnering with key retailers like Whole Foods and CVS has been strategic in building the category.
“Retail is more excited than she [the consumer] is. They’re building for a future that they know she’ll be in,” said Corey Scholibo, Wile cofounder, president and chief operating officer. “What we’re seeing is an overall awareness about menopause and perimenopause growing exponentially.”
With this in mind, Millennials could be the generation to drive revenue in the category, making it more mainstream, as they will enter into the stage already aware of brands and solutions.
“The Millennial customer can actually go through the entire journey without having to be left behind even for a portion of the journey, so they’ll be walking into solutions right away,” Scholibo said, estimating potential growth.
With Millennials growing up on social media and the rising trend of social wellness following the surgeon general’s announcement of a loneliness epidemic, community-driven experiences will be key. Perry is one such menopause community platform that offers content, a podcast, a menopause predictive quiz and an app where people can connect.
“Millennials in our app, they are valuing the voice of the community almost more than experts because these peers are going through the same [thing] so you believe their judgment,” said Perry founder and CEO Laura Okafor Crain.
As Millennials look to the internet for resources, telehealth companies like Alloy are offering online services and solutions, which allows for increased provider-patient communication and more convenient care.
“Millennials are used to being able to access a solution without having all of this friction,” said Alloy cofounder and co-CEO Monica Molenaar, noting the brand will be able to reach Millennials before they need to remediate symptoms.
And experts predict Millennials will expect the type of care Alloy is providing when they enter into perimenopause and menopause.
“They’re going to want to have access to their providers on demand,” said Dr. Somi Javaid, board certified OB-GYN and founder of HerMD, a clinic focused on women’s health. “They are going to expect some type of chat functionality or questions in real time… They’re going to want that connection and that information at their fingertips.”
With this sort of patient demand, Javaid predicts providers will also respond by increasing their knowledge on menopause, as currently less than 20 percent of physicians are trained in it.
The Alloy team also noted its support groups, which it plans to expand in the future, will resonate with Millennials, as they seek sources of community.
Similar to digital offerings, Millennials will also expect a certain level of technology and tools that allow them to take matters into their own hands. Brands, such as Mira and Clearblue, have developed tools that allow for this.
Clearblue’s Menopause Stage Indicator, $20, looks at the user’s age, cycle history and follicle-stimulating hormone, which are typically elevated during menopause. After feeding this information into the app, which also has educational content, the algorithm will determine pre-menopause, early perimenopause, late perimenopause or post-menopause.
“Women want to be able to test at home. They want to take things into their own hands,” said Lucy Broadbent, scientific and medical affairs associate at Clearblue. “Millennials are used to using apps for tracking… the feature really resonates.”
This testing option also provides each user with an in-depth report. “It’s empowering her with this information and giving her this report so she can then go have more informed conversations with her health care provider,” said Broadbent.
The Mira Ovum Wands, $45, used in conjunction with the brand’s Analyzer device, tracks the follicle-stimulating hormone. While this alone can’t indicate menopause, users are able to bring more information to their health care providers by tracking their levels over time at home.
“They wanted something to talk about their own body’s situation and what does it mean. After they get this data, they want a personalized explanation,” said Mira cofounder and CEO Sylvia Kang, noting the brand, which is expected to grow by 70 percent this year, has also launched telehealth to further customize the user’s experience.
While education is the main priority in this category, Millennials also drove the success of aesthetics-forward brands like Glossier. Therefore, they’ll be expecting the same from perimenopause and menopause solution brands. Medicine Mama, a vulva care brand, recently underwent a redesign to focus more on aesthetics and appeal to more customers.
“My goal was to bring in younger women and to help walk them through some of the processes,” said Dr. Clare Bertucio, founding chief medical officer and CEO at Medicine Mama. “The rebranding was to be bold, to speak to a whole generation and trend across generations about our bodies, about not being censored, about our vulvas, our vaginas.”
This bold approach looks like bright red logos and uncensored product names that include the word vulva, such as the VMagic Vulva Balm, $30. Womaness has experienced similar success with its light purple packaging with bold red lettering and benefit-driven product names, like its Let Me Sleep supplement, $25.
Looking forward, experts see this category continuing to grow, as the generation itself becomes more prominent. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2030. With this, experts suggest employers, insurers and brands should be prioritizing the menopausal care of this generation.
“Investing in and offering services that improve the health needs of the largest contributors if the U.S. economy will become paramount if employers and payers want to decrease costs incurred by their organizations,” said Toler Velissaris.
- Think digital-first with online content, social media and at-home tech.
- Opt for aesthetically pleasing packaging that clearly states benefits.
- Create educational, yet bite-sized content.
- Marketing and products should reflect who the consumer is.