Nearly every industry has undergone a tremendous digital transformation in the past several years. As the world continues to move forward, new digital trends and technological breakthroughs emerge that will be crucial to long-term business success and profitability. As the beauty and fashion industries look ahead to 2022, brands that are looking to stay ahead of the curve should take note of these top digital trends to propel their business to new heights.
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Digital Transformation Trend: No Signs of Slowing Down
Before the worldwide pandemic hit, businesses across the globe were slowly and gradually initiating their digital transformation efforts. Beauty businesses were starting to move to online selling platforms and increasing social media efforts, rather than relying solely on in-person sampling and product testing.
However, the sudden inability to conduct in-person transactions combined with rising safety concerns snowballed digital shopping technologies. In fact, experts believe the pandemic caused businesses to adopt certain digitized services six to 10 years faster than they would have otherwise (McKinsey).
One prominent way beauty brands have accelerated their digital transformation is by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) technologies into their shopping experiences.
AI and AR provide the ability for customers to try on makeup virtually, test out highly realistic digitized product SKUs, and even receive recommendations for the products that would be best fit for their skin.
The ability to provide improved customer service and personalization has allowed these businesses to stay agile and provide customers with the customized shopping experiences they crave.
Undoubtedly, digital transformation shows no signs of slowing down. Here are the digital transformation trends that will define the upcoming year for the beauty industry and beyond.
1. AR Makeup Virtual Try-On Becoming the Norm
One of the most important digital trends is the adoption of AR makeup virtual try-on.
These types of advanced solutions use face-tracking technology to display hyper-realistic makeup looks and product depictions on a customer’s face.
Users can browse from a company’s SKU assortment, then click through to see how these styles would look on them.
Such an innovative approach eliminates the need for an in-person try-on and helps customers feel more confident pulling the trigger on a purchase without ever trying the item in person.
Overall, AR-powered virtual makeup try-on creates an immersive, convenient and engaging experience that beauty consumers are demanding in today’s retail space.
More Reading: Beauty Tech: The Complete Guide 2022
Makeup isn’t the only area of beauty experiencing digital transformation. The men’s grooming industry has also begun to embrace digital technology as a tool to enhance the shopping experience and personalize the shopping journey.
An example of this is Perfect Corp.’s AI-powered virtual beard dye and beard style technology. With this technology, men can experiment with different beard colors virtually to find their perfect look.
Perfect Corp.’s technology also uses a state-of-the-art AI algorithm that can digitally reconstruct face areas covered with facial hair, creating a highly accurate simulation of clean shaven results.
Users can also play with different beard styles to experiment with their hairstyle digitally before changing their look. This technology can be crucial for men’s grooming and shave product companies looking to attract and expand their customer base.
3. Digital Makeup Tutorials
Many consumers struggle to get their makeup looks just right. Rather than waste product and time learning how to perform new styles, digital makeup education platforms and technology are now available to create a seamless tutorial experience.
With these technologies, consumers will be able to master their makeup skills with interactive AR tutorials that feature guided step-by-step application tips and techniques. Consumers can watch their virtual makeup tutorial using hyper-realistic AR technology and visualize the step-by-step makeup application. Makeup techniques are customized to the user’s unique features for a personalized makeup learning experience.
With this technology, brands can provide personalized virtual makeup instruction, re-imagining the in-store makeup consultant experience in a fully digital setting. This enables consumers to access impactful makeup education from anywhere at any time.
4. Emphasis on Sustainability
Over 50% of consumers prioritize buying eco-friendly skin, beauty and hair care products, and brands have taken note (King).
Many brands have started using more recyclable or sustainable packaging, which is a huge step in the right direction, as the beauty industry currently creates 120 billion units of packaging a year. Product shipping is also another factor when it comes to reducing harmful impacts to the environment.
Currently, the beauty industry produces 1 billion tons of CO2 from shipping activities every year. To combat this, some companies have started using alternate shipping services to offset carbon costs with each shipment.
In 2022, we’ll likely see an even greater shift toward sustainability in the beauty industry. Beauty tech solutions, such as AR virtual try-on technology, can help brands reach their sustainability and ESG goals. With AR and AI virtual try-on solutions, consumers can try on various products digitally with no need to open or use physical product.
This technology therefore helps to reduce packaging waste and harmful impacts on the environment. Virtual try-on also helps customers find the exact product they need without ordering samples or buying extra products to test. This will eliminate the need for additional packaging and help reduce product returns, helping to create a more sustainable future for the industry.
5. Beauty and Fashion NFTs
NFTs — or non-fungible tokens — are a new way of claiming ownership of a digital resource. When someone buys an NFT, they receive the rights to a virtual file. An NFT is part of the Ethereum blockchain, which is a cryptocurrency. This is what helps it stay secure and unique to each owner.
While NFTs are commonly associated with artists and musicians, beauty brands are getting into the NFT space as well, and this digital trend is expected to grow in 2022.
Here’s a quick look at what types of NFTs brands are offering (Flora):
- Nars Cosmetics celebrated the release of its new Orgasm blush by selling three commissioned NFT artworks — one for free, one for $50, and one for $500.
- Givenchy Beauty sold 1,952 copies of an NFT artwork in a mere two seconds.
- E.l.f. created the Ne.l.f.Ts campaign where it sold golden virtual versions of its most popular makeup products.
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Flora, Liza. “The NFT craze now includes major beauty brands.” Glossy, 30 Jul, 2021, https://www.glossy.co/beauty/the-nft-craze-now-includes-major-beauty-brands/.
“How COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever.” McKinsey & Company, 5 Oct, 2020, https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/how-covid-19-has-pushed-companies-over-the-technology-tipping-point-and-transformed-business-forever.
King, Austyn. “64% of consumers find it 'difficult' to buy sustainable beauty products.” Cosmetics Business, 11 Jun 2021, https://www.cosmeticsbusiness.com/news/article_page/64_of_consumers_find_it_difficult_to_buy_sustainable_beauty_products/177154.