Tech advances made in recent years across the beauty and personal care space had been phenomenal, from the widespread uptake of virtual try-on technologies and smart in-store scanning tools at consumer level to broad use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning in product development phases and production. But as wellbeing and societal concerns were now centre stage, how exactly could tech play into this? And what sort of innovations were on the horizon for beauty as it committed itself to fulfilling wellbeing needs?
Mixed reality, interconnected drones and exoskeletons and 5G+
Adrià Martínez Noveleta, strategic project manager at Beauty Cluster, a Spanish private association made up of 230+ companies designed to promote collaboration, said beauty would soon transition from industry 4.0 into industry 5.0, prompting plenty of opportunities to tackle such needs.
“With industry 5.0, which takes a sharp turn and directs attention to the human element, we will see the difference between this and industry 4.0,” Noveleta told attendees at last month’s in-Cosmetics Global in Barcelona, Spain.
Industry 5.0 would build on and compliment advances made by industry 4.0, he said, but it would clearly shift businesses away from economic values to societal values and wellbeing.
For example, there would be less focus on connecting machines and more focus on delivering customer experience; from mass customisation would move to hyper customisation; intelligent supply chains would morph into responsive and distributed supply chains; smart products would become express activated and interactive products; and there would be a return of manpower to factories.
And behind these transitions, Noveleta said there were several key technologies important to growth, including mixed reality - a blend of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) - and interconnected drones and exoskeletons via 5G networks and future networks yet to be developed.
Opportunities and challenges for beauty 5.0
For beauty moving into industry 5.0, he said there would be plenty of obvious gains, such as improved efficiency, increased ability to customise products for individual consumers, greater accuracy and precision in manufacturing, increased speed in responding to consumer trends and preferences, and the ability to create new innovative products that were “previously impossible to manufacturer”. However, the transition would not be without its challenges, he said.
The beauty and personal care sector clearly had to brace for high initial costs associated with new technologies and ways of working, he said. Dependence on certain technologies also made businesses vulnerable to cybersecurity threats and technical glitches, he said, and could also often be met with concerns at consumer level that would need to be addressed directly. Companies might also face potential job displacement issues and legal challenges when integrating advanced technologies into manufacture stages, he said.
Another important challenge ahead for beauty 5.0 was the need to carefully balance fulfilling individual consumer needs whilst maintaining a sense of community, Novelata said – no easy task for brands or retailers. “Today, consumers are looking for as much personalisation as possible in their products but at the same time they also value being part of a community. So, it will be a challenge for companies to coexist between these two.”
Beauty will need to work with tech experts
Tackling the array of challenges and embracing the opportunities ahead that industry 5.0 offered, Noveleta said, would best be achieved via healthy collaboration.
Beauty brands and manufacturers, for example, ought to team up with or work alongside tech experts to better understand the true opportunities presented by industry 5.0, he said. “Technological trends are really fast and changing regularly, so we should not get carried away by them but know how to identify if they are able to solve existing needs in the company or provide a relevant added value to current processes.”
Industry also had to invest in cost analysis ahead of any decision making, he said, because any advantages from technologies had to be scalable and affordable in the long-term.