Beauty’s AR Quest

The cosmetics industry is currently scrambling to appeal to millennial and Gen-Z consumers. In their quest to appeal to the younger generation, brands are increasingly investing in new virtual and augmented reality features adapted to mobile devices. 

After launching a limited version at the beginning of the year, YouTube expended its AR Beauty features by letting potential customers try on various lipstick shades through video ads that feature products by cosmetic brands NARS and MAC. The so-called new “AR Beauty Try-On” feature is available by tapping on Masthead and TrueView Discovery ads throughout YouTube on iOS and Android. In this context, the ad is displayed via split-screen, namely, with a video playing on top and the user’s phone camera view and AR filters at the bottom. The user can, therefore, see how the makeup might personally look like on her/him.

According to statements by Taiwanese beauty app developer Perfect Corp., augmented reality drives two times more conversions for beauty products. Another study by Morar Consulting explained that customers believe VR/AR will be the shopping norm in the three upcoming years and are already willing to use these technologies in order to not go into stores. Goldman Sachs Research, for its part, revealed that the global market for VR and AR in retail will reach US$ 1.6 billion by 2025 – all the more reason for beauty and cosmetic companies to invest in digitalization. 

Overall, the VR and AR trend in the cosmetics sector has been thriving for a while and is not about to slow down. Over the past five years, an increasing number of beauty giants such as Sephora, L’Oréal, and Shiseido have been testing a range of new AR apps that allow customers to try products without physically going into the store. Earlier this year, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has also announced a new global strategic partnership with the aforementioned app developer Perfect Corp., which will see YouCam – Perfect Corp.’s AR beauty try-on technology – integrated into its platforms. In fact, YouCam has already established itself as an important reference in virtual reality makeup and beauty technology. In addition to its selfie beautifying functions, YouCam offers an array of AR beauty apps that address makeup, hair coloring, and even skincare. 

Augmented reality, however, is not the industry’s only battle horse. Cosmetics and beauty brands show an increasing interest in direct-to-customer online sales strategies via personalized dermatological skin evaluations that lead to a customized selection of products as seen on the website of holistic beauty brands such as Seasonly and Holidermie, as well as on Skin Weather, a multi-brand beauty platform recently launched by biochemist and dermatologist Joëlle Ciocco and startup expert Nathalie Chateau-Rudzinski. In addition, the newly launched MIRA Beauty search engine is another reflection of the customer’s increasing demand for personalized beauty products and cosmetics.  

 

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