In CosmeticsDesign-Europe’s 11th Beauty 4.0 Podcast – a digital series looking at how technology and innovation will shape beauty’s future – we catch up with Andrew McDougall, director of beauty and personal care research at Mintel.
In this 20-minute podcast, McDougall talks about the evolving market trends behind beauty tech and sheds light on key opportunities for brands looking to play into this space, be it via devices, NFTs, metaverse involvement or blockchain.
User tech versus industry tech
“There’s a lot of tech coming through that is really interesting to look at from that end-user side of things,” McDougall said.
“But then also, technology in beauty is really interesting to look at in terms of online and what the digital space means. Obviously, those trends were around two, three years ago anyway, but they’ve been accelerated over the last two years with the pandemic, and we’re now seeing us play in spaces such as connecting virtually (…) and I think the future is going to be this mix of online and offline shopping,” he said.
The rise of the metaverse, for example, opened up very interesting opportunities for online engagement and beauty shopping, he said, as did the work behind NFTs [non-fungible tokens]. The biggest challenge for beauty brands working in the metaverse or with NFTs, however, was working out what direction to take consumers in after engaging them, he said.
“I don’t know if we know fully what to do with this audience once we have it. It’s a captive audience, it’s very active, and we don’t know what to do with it yet.”
“…You don’t have to play in every space. And tech is such a wide topic anyway; it could be devices, it could be digital, online, there are so many things it could be.”
Beauty tech knowledge and consumer interest
Asked if there was enough knowledge in the beauty industry and amongst consumers to see strong uptake in the likes of the metaverse, NFTs and use of blockchain technologies, McDougall said most global consumers were interested in new technology in general. “New tech is exciting (…) Consumers like to be the first to try new tech too – that is quite appealing.”
As for industry, engagement and innovation was fast-evolving, he said, with personalisation especially important in beauty tech developments.
“I think beauty is a good sort of pioneering industry for these types of things because we have a loyal consumer base,” he said.
It was important to remember, however, that tech spaces like the metaverse would evolve significantly in the coming years, pushing boundaries and opportunities even further, McDougall said. “The metaverse we imagine now in 2022 is going to be nothing like what it becomes.”
Global beauty tech – APAC devices, US patents and European progress
Asked what beauty tech advances looked like on a global level, McDougall said the Asia-Pacific region was ahead in device developments, and there were a lot of patents being filed in North America.
“I wouldn’t say Europe is lagging behind but it’s kind of, we’re not quite as advanced as the APAC region.”
Whilst NPD activity had driven much of this, he said regulations that differed worldwide had also impacted innovation and consumer uptake in certain markets.
So, what was the key message for beauty brands interested in advancing beauty tech activity? Don’t rush, McDougall said. “Rushing into things has never been the best thing to do. Sometimes it’s good to see how it evolves.”
Beauty 4.0 Podcast – closer thinking on beauty tech trends and strategy
For more insight on the opportunities and considerations to take when evolving beauty tech strategies, listen to our 19-minute podcast above or access our podcasts by subscribing via Apple Podcasts or finding us on Spotify.