How technology can influence the beauty and cosmetics industry
For quite some time now, the relationship of technology with fashion has been the source of media frenzy, while its relationship with beauty and cosmetics have been relatively inconspicuous. However, the potential of technology in the beauty industry is still emerging.
But as consumers are now ready more than ever to embrace technology in their day-to-day lives, notably through the increasing usage of smartphones, the boundaries between the virtual and real-world become more and more blurry.
As the line between virtual and real-world becomes blurred, various products have been introduced, including virtual wallets and virtual currencies are signs of the upcoming union of virtual and real-world.
For example, wearable technology is becoming increasingly available to the majority, and beauty companies can no longer afford to be on the sidelines. Beauty companies are starting to realise that technology should be at the forefront of their strategies, making it an integral part of their products.
How technology adoption creates more opportunities in the beauty industry
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increase in technology use. Users are now comfortable using innovative devices, creating widespread opportunities for various industries, including beauty and cosmetics.
The demand for high-tech beauty products has boomed since the lockdown, giving rise to a range of electronic devices that claims to improve the efficacy of skincare products to those that replicate anti-ageing spa treatments.
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According to a study by Vynz Research, the global beauty devices market was valued at US$39.1 billion in 2018 and is predicted to grow by a CAGR of 18.4 per cent, expecting it to reach US$107.2 billion by 2024. These devices, including acne devices, hair removal devices, cleansing devices, cellulite reduction devices, light/led therapy and masks, dermal skin roller, contribute to this market’s rapid growth.
Apart from hardware, technology adoption in the beauty industry also includes software and application development. “Exponential growth in existing e-commerce platforms has prepared beauty brands for a more permanent shift to this channel, supported by an acceleration in digital enhancements such as augmented reality as well as facial and skincare analysis to provide consumers with a sensory experience,” explains Latif Sim, co-founder of Allureskins Potions, a skincare retail tech startup based in Singapore.
Apart from an immersive experience, technology also allows beauty and cosmetics companies to continue selling their products even during crises like coronavirus pandemic. Augmented reality, for example, helps consumers purchase products online without actually having to try the products personally. This has played a transformative role in the industry.
“Anything these days that is interactive and accessible through one’s phone garners big points to any consumer. Things are especially tricky now since there is minimal in-store buying or swatching due to the global lockdowns and the high risk of COVID-19.”
“There is also the instance where some brands do not have any in-person retailers in certain countries- so these apps or codes give buyers the opportunity to virtually “try” or “swatch” products before their online purchases,” shares Christi McGarry, beauty queen, model, DJ, and beauty influencer.
The role of social media in the growth of the beauty industry
The influence of technology through hardware, software, and applications is evident in the beauty industry. But the most apparent impact of technology comes from the power of social media. The use of social media to provide an impression of an unbiased review of products that are often provided free or sponsored allowed brands to influence consumers like never before.
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“The convenience and ease of use of social media platforms for brands to take advantage of the booming online scene to promote their products creatively. As influencers are well known by their group of followers and are quite recognisable in the online scene, brands campaigns involving them usually capture the attention of their cult following,” says Janelle Wong, Instagram beauty influencer.
“The beauty industry is affluent with influencers- a lot of beauty enthusiasts and makeup fans base a lot of their purchases off of first-hand reviews, critiques, tutorials, and approval from their favourite celebrities, influencers, beauty vloggers, or makeup artists,” says McGarry. This is why influencer marketing becomes a critical part of every beauty companies’ marketing strategy.
“Influencer marketing has been transforming the way brands engage their consumers, and this is particularly important in the beauty industry where trust and brand loyalty are key differentiators as to whether brands can continue to remain competitive in the playing field. In an industry where consumers are spoilt for choice with the myriad of products that are in the market, the trust that influencers have with their followers can help a brand reach their targeted consumers in a more intimate and personalised manner,” says Sim.
Technological advancements have greatly affected various industries’ growth. In summary, technology continues to enable opportunities to the beauty industry by providing different avenues for growth such as at-home devices and beauty apps. Through the use of technology, specifically social media, beauty and cosmetics companies can leverage influencer marketing to reach customers and market their products. Overall, tech is vital for the beauty industry to continually emerge and be competitive in this current landscape.
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