Digital Age Of Beauty Highlights NFT, The Metaverse, Apps & Technology

Technology is transforming beauty — and transparency and trust are key to the consumer. At the Digital Age of Beauty at NYSCC Suppliers’ Day, Sarah Jindal, senior director of beauty and personal care, Mintel, presented “Digital Trends: NFTs, Metaverse + What Will Endure Post Covid” in a workshop.

During the past few years, consumer transparency demands have changed dramatically, especially during covid. Therefore, beauty marketers are expanding their digital capabilities via artificial intelligence (AI), the blockchain and apps.

In fact, 55% of US beauty consumers are “very concerned” with environmental impact of their products and brands. Ethical claims are rising on packaging as well.

In addition, 38% of US beauty shoppers are also paying more attention to ingredients, added Jindal. Traceability is also a selling point to beauty products today to build more trust. For example, beauty products that are vegan or sustainable, as stated on the packaging language, has jumped from 2017-2021.

Digital Demand in Beauty

Jindal told the workshop crowd that 62% of US consumers agree that having new technology is exciting (this Happi editor is among that cohort; having donned a new Apple Watch just in time for the show).

Marketers are improving developments in their own digital domain. In recent years, virtual try-on has been a game changer, noted Jindal.

As highlighted in Mintel’s 2022 Global Consumer Trend ‘Flexible Spaces,’ consumers increasingly seek out meaningful spaces (both digital and physical) and virtual showrooms to shop as if they are in a store.

“Beauty is on the forefront of technology as the industry already has a knack of being an early adapter of trends,” said Jindal. Recent examples of these developments include the virtual artist program at Sephora, the consumer loyalty program at Ulta and shopping livestreams. Also, for Holiday 2021, Charlotte Tilbury rolled out a virtual shopping experience for her color cosmetics gift sets.

Personalization is also imperative in the digital beauty movement. Consumers can now take part in a virtual consultation on Zoom, noted Jindal.
Technology can also help shoppers make better choices when it comes to sustainability with the carbon calculator and Eco-Score.

Finally, the blockchain can also be used to increase supply chain transparency.

“The demand for eco-friendly products is only going to grow as climate change impacts daily lives,” Jindal said.

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are big in beauty marketing right now.

NFT & The Blockchain in Beauty

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, can also be an asset in the fight against counterfeit products, as seen with digital fragrance auctions.

“We are leveraging big data to build personalized products on the next level,” said Jindal. “The Aura Blockchain Consortium with LVMH, Prada and Richemont is at the forefront of this movement.”

NFTs and the metaverse took the beauty industry by storm in the past year, leaving personal care and wellness brands wondering how to take part in an expansive and undefined virtual space.

Brands can leverage virtual-only content to create value for their most loyal customers through rewards or membership programs. This might include exclusive access to virtual shopping events, new products or custom NFT collectibles.

Clinique refreshed its Smart Rewards program, calling on users to join the program and share a message of optimism on social media to win a collectible NFT and a decade’s worth of Clinique products. See more on this in Happi.

The metaverse, however, is hazier, as it is still being defined. Essentially, the metaverse is a digital universe that blends virtual and physical spaces, where consumers can interact for work, play or commerce. It will not be dominated by one platform, but will consist of many platforms, entry points and experiences.

In the next year, Mintel expects to see brands across categories explore different ways of leveraging these avenues to better appeal to and interact with consumers as these concepts move further into the mainstream.

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