Beauty Wrap Up and Trends for 2022

At the beginning of last year, we compiled a list of beauty trends that we have seen flourishing and growing throughout the whole year. As the year passed, more innovations and trends emerged in the beauty industry that will also shape this new year 2022. To continue our tradition and to be prepared for a fresh and exciting new year, we analyzed the beauty industry and would like to present the five trends to look out for:

  1. NFT

The last article on the blockchain and beauty has been briefly cutting on the topic of NFTs before. Within the beauty industry, NFTs have increased in relevance over the last year. The term non-fungible token might sound intimidating for those who are unfamiliar with the blockchain space, but easily explained, an NFT is a unit of data stored on a blockchain to certify ownership of a digital asset including image, audio, video, or tweet. According to Morgan Stanley, NFTs are expected to grow to a value of $300bn by 2030. The beauty industry has not waited long to exploit this opportunity. Beauty brands have stepped out to release their own exclusive brand NFTs.

For instance, cosmetic brand NARS launched and sold a collection of three NFT artworks that present unique digital works inspired by its signature blush ‘Orgasm’. Clinique took a different approach to NFTs. Within their initiative ‘MetaOptimist’, Clinique has created three editions of NFTs but instead of selling the NFTs, Clinique is giving its ‘Rewards’ members the chance to receive the NFT when sharing their stories of optimism and hopes for the future. Additionally, beauty startups like Australian beauty brand, Sunny Skin have successfully explored and launched NFTs that have helped boost awareness for the new brand.

NFTs have been seen as a new outlet for creative expression driving engagement, connection and loyalty particularly among younger, digitally-adversed consumers as these beauty consumers spend more and more of their time in virtual spaces. Owning an NFT or part of a brand’s NFT leads to a new and exciting way to hyper-connect.

2. Metaverse and Gaming

The metaverse is an interactive world with virtual entertainment and businesses, where every person is represented as an avatar, just like in gaming. With this big gender shift in gaming, the beauty industry has seen opportunities in games and metaverse. Research has shown that 53% of beauty fans also played and downloaded games in 2021. Both gaming and beauty show parallels in empowering self-expression as well as community building.

Many beauty brands recently teamed up with gaming platforms and creators, or even created games and virtual worlds of their own. For instance, Tatcha partnered with the popular Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing to reimagine the Japanese city Kyoto within the game. Givenchy Beauty also partnered with Animal Crossing while MAC Cosmetics presented tailored makeup looks for the avatars in The Sims 4. Differently, the British brand Soap & Glory launched their own VR game called Soap and Glory Land. So did Paco Rabanne with the game Curved Space for its new Phantom fragrance. To get ready for the metaverse, global skincare brand SK-II has developed SK-II CITY is a mini virtual world inspired by the streets of Tokyo. Naver Z corp also recently launched the South Korean metaverse Zepeto that featured several beauty brands, such as Nars and Dior Beauté. With the rise of the metaverse, beauty brands have been exploring new ways to get integrated into the virtual and gaming world. It is predicted that in-game beauty through digital make-up artists will be up and coming.

3. New social platforms

Social Media platforms like Facebook and Instagram but also content platforms like TikTok haven been essential for beauty brands to market and connect with consumers. But as Lush announced the closure of its social accounts, the question arises, what other platforms exist for brands?

As the world has become more digital and virtual, which also entails closed retails, brands have been looking for ways to get closer and personal to consumers. Covid-19 has pushed brands to transform digitally and created the need to stay more closely connected to their customers online. One platform that companies have been using to hold meetings is Zoom. Brands used Zoom not only to engage with employees but also consumers by holding virtual launch events, webinars, makeup classes and more. Skincare brand Glow Recipe held a Zoom-based happy hour on Friday, where fans around the world could chat with the founders, Sarah Lee and Christine Chang.

Other popular platforms have been Discord, Slack, Telegram or Geneva. These platforms all have community building in common. Consumers love the idea of connecting with strangers over similar interests and sharing experiences. It is important to keep the channels organic and authentic. It should be a place where consumers can connect with the brand on a personal level, rather than being a sales channel.

For instance, different chat channels within Discord, Slack or Geneva App can be focused on various topics like skin care tips, makeup hacks or specific products. These channels could include experts and influencers for engaging discussions. Brands like Goop have organized virtual summits, where attendees were invited to join the private Slack channel afterwards for questions and discussions with founder Gwyneth Paltrow. Some brands have been using Geneva to build different groups like GenZ focus groups to get insights on trends and listen to their opinion on products. With the Geneva app, brands not only have chat rooms to communicate but also post rooms, audio rooms, video rooms, and broadcast rooms. Events can be announced beforehand and hosted within the app.

4. 3D Technology

Sustainability and ultra-personalisation have been highly demanded by consumers, and this is where 3D technology has been revolutionary to the beauty industry.

The first portable 3D makeup printer, Mink, a combination of makeup and ink, was introduced in 2014. Since 2019, consumers can use the Mink App to choose a photo, then print either the whole image or a specific color within 15 seconds, this includes eye shadow, blush, brow powder and more. Mink is capable of printing 16.7 million colors.

Similarly, P&G launched the Opté Precision Skin System, which scans your face to identify age spots, sunspots, hyperpigmentation as well as pimples and uses a facial-recognition algorithm to determine blemish’s size, shape, and color. It then prints the perfect amount of foundation to cover them.

From cosmetics to skincare, Neutrogena unveiled their new 3D printed product, MaskiD. Facial-recognition technology scans and creates a 3D model of the face in order to print a mask that fits the wearer’s face perfectly. The Skin360 device, which scans the size of your pores and skin moisture levels, then offers recommendations on ingredients suited to meet specific skin concerns, such as acne or dryness.

5. Live commerce

In 2016, Alibaba’s Taobao first launched the live shopping experience and with that opened a totally new era of sale and commerce. Since then, live commerce has established itself as another channel of sales in Asia. In China alone, live commerce is estimated to be worth $239 billion last year with a compound annual growth rate of 27 percent through to 2025.

As predicted in our latest retail trend article, shopstream also known as live commerce is finally being adopted and rising in western countries. Throughout 2021, live commerce reached new heights in North America and Europe as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok offered additional functions for brands.

Live commerce is similar to telecommerce, however the important difference is the interaction with viewers. In live commerce, the audience usually can participate, and the brand can actively engage with questions and feedback, which intensifies the purchase experience and builds a stronger relation between consumer and brand. Moreover, the real, authentic and raw format compared to polished images makes it so popular. This entertaining and immersive experience accelerates conversion. In fact, live commerce has reportedly a 30% higher conversion compared to traditional commerce. As younger generations spend more time online, live commerce attracts especially the demographics of Millennials and Gen Z.

Besides social media, new start-ups specializing in live commerce have emerged. A few examples are NTWRK, Talkshoplive, Yeay, Supergreat, Shop LIT Live, or Flip. The startup Flip focuses specifically on beauty products and honest reviews and has in-app checkout.

The beauty industry might be the industry that benefits most from live commerce. Beauty live commerce is also more popular among consumers than fashion live commerce. One of the first live commerce adopters was German beauty retailer Douglas. With consistent livestreams including workshops with experts or influencers, Douglas has seen conversion rates of up to 40%. American beauty retail giant Ulta has partnered with platform Supergreat to also host live shopping events and have seen steady increase in engagement.

Digital Future of Beauty

The beauty industry is constantly reinventing itself with the power of technology. More startups like Lillycover are challenging traditional beauty brands in all ways from production, process, operation and more. In this article, we have seen how consumers change in needs, preferences and demands can shape the direction of the beauty industry. In order to cater to consumers and stay relevant particularly for the younger generation, beauty brands should stay open and flexible to try new opportunities, whether that is NFT, live commerce, new social platforms, 3D technology or metaverse gaming. This is only the beginning of the immersion of beauty and technology, and the trends mentioned in the article will become even more significant in this new year and future to come.

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