L’Oréal ups omnichannel strategy by joining YouCam Makeup app
Data shows how virtual try-on impacts beauty shoppers’ behavior
NEW YORK — Perfect, the company behind the YouCam Makeup app, is sharing data that offers a look at the impact augmented reality try-on has on beauty shoppers. Perfect found that YouCam Makeup users are 1.6 times more likely to buy cosmetics compared to non-users, and app users possess a lot of buying power, as users spend 2.7 times more on beauty products than non-users.
The company also found that the app’s AR try-ons drove two times more cosmetic sales — and with some brands drove conversions six times more sales — than those seen among non-users. And Perfect found that AR apps are a key player in cosmetic sales among Gen Z shoppers, who are 10 times more likely to make purchase decisions after using the app, and millennials, who are two times more likely to buy something after using the app.
“We are thrilled to learn that YouCam Makeup encourages customers to make more informed purchasing decisions through AR try-ons,” says Perfect Corp. CEO Alice Chang. “Our team continues to develop the complete beauty journey for all aspects of the beauty market, allowing YouCam users to discover, try, share, and buy beauty products in one seamless platform.”
The yearlong study looked at behavior and purchase histories of 25,000 females in Japan 15-69 years old that did and did not use the app. To view the full results, click here.
Natural products still a force of nature
With cleansers and moisturizers firing on all cylinders, retailers and brands are fine-tuning other segments to keep the momentum going.
By bringing skin care innovations to mass doors more quickly, chains have been able to keep their customer base from straying to specialty stores and, in some cases, lure them back.
A few trends on the horizon include personalization presented by do-it-yourself skin care; more “free-of” formulas; and products targeting such skin problems as rosacea, dark spots, acne and even scarring. Many buyers are on the prowl for generation Z and millennials, but not at the expense of other age groups. Also, some of the trends in skin are spilling over into the bath category where consumers are seeking products for relaxation or to soothe overworked muscles.
A quick glimpse of skin care reveals overall sales are up 3.3% for the 52-week period ended May 14 across multi-outlets, according to IRI. Propelling that growth are moisturizers (up 7.5%) and cleansers (up 14.5%). Hand and body also are up more than 2%. Still sagging, however, are sales of body and face anti-aging, depilatory and acne segments. Acne, despite a rash of new launches, is down 4%, but buyers were quick to note that’s less of a decline than the same period last year.
Chain executives also are bullish on acne as the popularity of masks and devices boom. From Walgreens to Walmart, masks are hard to keep in stock. The latest wrinkle in mask is DIY creations. Yes To has been at the forefront of the movement, offering mask kits that can be made with everything from water to fresh fruit. Expect more to come from the company, which just received a $56 million minority investment from Viking Global Investors LP, a Greenwich, Conn.-based investment firm that also has backed Birchbox. The deal will “provide partial liquidity to existing shareholders,” according to a company statement. That will help fostser penetration into the market, which now totals more than 28,000 doors, at retailers including Target, Walmart, Ulta Beauty and Rite Aid.
(To read about how purpose-driven products are driving a boom in bath care sales, click here.)
As masks continue to invite more users to skin care, they also are a starting point for many shoppers interested in K-beauty. How well K-beauty resonates with mass shoppers will be road-tested over the next few months as shoppers have greater exposure to myriad lines, especially at CVS and Target. Both companies have sought out the expertise of South Korean beauty expert Alicia Yoon to help curate assortments.
The DIY trend isn’t limited to masks. Unilever’s St. Ives just opened a pop-up shop in New York City’s SoHo district to help familiarize younger shoppers with the venerable brand. There is a mixing bar for customized facial scrubs and body lotions, a sink station for product testing, a vending machine that dispenses free samples and a photo booth. Customization comes into play on a wall display where shoppers can pick from more than 50 items to blend their own formulas — complete with their name on the package. “We’re hoping to introduce a new generation of consumers to this brand,” said Suzanne Palentchar, marketing director for St. Ives. Moreover, the pop-up helps get feedback on products to develop for the future.
The continued message that health and beauty are intertwined has moved natural or “better-for- you” brands to the front burner. The numbers reflect demand for products from Burt’s Bees, Pacifica, Alba, Yes To, Skinfix and SheaMoisture. The latter registered a 54% gain in hand and body lotions for the 52-week period ended May 14 across chains, according to IRI. The brand is getting prominent presentation in ShopRite and Walgreens. Greater distribution merged with demand pushed Yes To’s Tomato Cleanser sales up 780%.
Beyond natural, there are consumers looking to go the next step — to professional or dermatologist-recommended lines. Existing lines with that physician-recommended reputation include Cetaphil, Aquaphor, Aveeno, Cerave and Eucerin. Those brands continue to evolve, as exemplified by Eucerin’s new Daily Hydration Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Hand Creme, which applies face and body attributes to hands while helping repair sunburn damage.
A brand surging in popularity thanks to its approval from dermatologists, as well as its natural position, is Skinfix. In the past, dermatologists have been reticent to give a thumbs-up to natural products for fear of efficacy. Skinfix fought hard for clinicals, earning the respect of the profession. “We had to work hard to get derms on board,” admitted company CEO Amy Regan. But it is paying off as the brand earns its stripes on QVC and in CVS, Target, Boots and Ulta Beauty. “I believe wholeheartedly that ‘natural is the new normal,’ and that the next generation of naturals will have to deliver more than just nice, natural ingredients,” Regan said.
There are indications that skin care might include more than just topical products in the future. Vitamins and other ingested products are gaining steam, and Ulta is adding skin care experiences. Skin Laundry, which operates freestanding spas, is launching its laser and light therapy facials at Ulta’s Michigan Avenue location in Chicago. Penny Coy, VP of merchandising, prestige skin care and fragrance at Ulta, said, “The partnership with Skin Laundry gives our guests the opportunity to experience a laser and light facial skin care service and a targeted product line.”
Men, too, appear to like products without fragrance, parabens and other harmful ingredients. Bulldog’s founder, Simon Duffy, said, “Bulldog is suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and the products never contain any ingredients from animal sources. The interesting thing about the U.S. men’s skin care market is that it is so far behind other countries, [such as] the United Kingdom or Sweden. The average British man currently spends about three times as much on skin care as his American peers. More than anything, this highlights the potential for this category to explode in the United States.” Bulldog was acquired last year by Edgewell.
Acquiring up-and-coming skin care brands is part of the business. L’Oreal proved it wants to further build that business when it acquired Valeant Pharmaceuticals — the maker of CeraVe. At the time, L’Oreal called CeraVe among the fastest-growing skin care brands in the United States with average gains over the past two years of more than 20%. That deal also included AcneFree and Ambi — two other skin care segments with potential.
As a final note in skin care, apps that are populating color cosmetics play a role in skin, too. Procter & Gamble’s Olay launched SkinAdvisor.Olay.com, a website that analyzes the condition of one’s skin and provides a customized Olay product regimen based on that analysis.
Olay Skin Advisor utilizes P&G’s proprietary, artificial intelligence-based VizID technology. The system relies on an algorithm drawn from a database of tens of thousands of images of women’s faces. When a consumer takes a selfie, no matter her chronological age, Olay Skin Advisor assigns a “skin age” and determines a preventive and corrective regimen. The consumer also is directed to answer a series of questions related to skin care desires and preferences, and those answers factor into the regimen as well.