Virtual interactivity gives shoppers more power


Beauty is “plugging in,” a trend that is set to drive innovation in the year ahead, according to recent research by Mintel Beauty and Personal Care.

“We’re seeing this trend manifest itself in several ways,” stated Nica Lewis, global skin care analyst at Mintel. “From the next generation of at-home beauty devices that harness energy and light to new ingredients that boost cellular energy, beauty brands are giving consumers more power and vitality for better results.”

While the United States is the dominant market for powered face care devices, European manufacturers are developing innovative light and laser-based solutions for anti-aging, according to Lewis. 

In addition, 2012 and beyond will be driven by the power behind the technology — ingredients that harness or boost cellular energy, such as sugar and oxygen. Ingredients that limit or shield the skin from high-energy blue or violet light also will be a focus.

A key part of the trend, dubbed 
“Kinetique,” is point-of-sale retail and packaging elements. In fact, Mintel predicted a rise in packaging and products that increase the interactivity between virtual and beauty worlds, such as sound, video and QR codes embedded in beauty packaging.

“One of the best recent examples is Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows Volume IV, which has a USB port built into the palette so consumers can download makeup tutorials and listen to music while they’re getting ready,” Lewis stated. “This blurring of the on- and offline space is critical for brands and retailers.”

Lewis also noted the growing use of tablets and the personalization of the in-store experience. Rite Aid, for example, is “trialing an in-store kiosk that performs anonymous video analytics to determine the age and gender of customers standing in front of it. The Reward Center then dispenses vouchers and customized promotions,” Lewis stated.

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