At CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas 2020, L’Oréal unveiled “Perso”, an intelligent skincare device capable of using AI (artificial intelligence), location data and user preferences to formulate a personalized moisturizer. The device should go on sale in the course of 2021. In principle, this innovative device should also be able to produce a foundation and a personalized lipstick for customers and especially customers who intend to acquire it.
Nicolas Hieronimus, deputy general manager of the number 1 company in the cosmetics industry, said on this occasion that L’Oréal was committed to becoming the leader in beauty technologies, and that Perso was the first step in ‘an exciting and promising adventure which is not just a trend.
Today, L’Oréal is far from being the only company specializing in beauty technologies, which in this article we will call “Beauty Tech”.
Although this idea of a beauty technology dates back to the late 90s (Cosmopolitan magazine in 1998 put its name on a “virtual makeover” software), it is only recently that the big brands have started. to invest heavily in this sector to offer new types of services to consumers. There has been a surge in public interest recently, largely due to advances in smartphone technology, but also the growing threat from independent and digital-native beauty brands, which Continuously increases their market share and revenue by leveraging social media and influencer marketing.
From there, the big names in the cosmetics industry cannot afford to let this particularly young audience slip away towards Dominican Republic Phone Numbers List companies that may come to compete with them in a few years.
Thus, for established brands, Beauty Tech represents a chance to connect with consumers, and especially younger ones, in a new way. This opportunity has more to do with the promises offered by the IoT (Internet of Things) and AI than the competition from influencers on YouTube and Instagram. Augmented reality beauty apps will allow users to try on all types of a brand’s lipsticks in minutes, without having to travel or enter a store. This is foreshadowed by smart devices like Perso, which will allow brands to offer personalized experiences on a large scale, and thereby meet the new needs of their customers.
L’Oréal, Shiseido and Estée Lauder are three of the largest cosmetics companies in the world, and they are also among the most active brands in the field of Beauty Tech. To better understand how technology will transform the cosmetics industry, we will observe what these three leading companies are preparing and the technological progress they hope to see occur in the near future.
The new generation of “Beauty Tech” Startups
Station F became the largest startup campus in the world when it opened in 2017. Station F’s facilities, based in Paris and housed inside a former railway depot, provide the necessary space for more than 1,000 startups and startup accelerators, including L’Oréal. L’Oréal’s Beauty Tech accelerator operates for six months, a period during which startups have a workspace at Station F, opportunities for presentations to investors, and even access to the distribution channels of the company.
Maxime Garcia-Janin, founder of the personalized perfume startup “Sillages Paris” and alumnus of the L’Oréal accelerator program, says that the market and beauty trends are changing very quickly because of digital technology, and that the he evolution of technology changes all the rules. According to him, L’Oréal works with startups like his in order to better understand and apprehend the changes brought about by the digitization of purchasing behavior.
In addition to working with startups, the French cosmetics brand acquires them most of the time, when they seem promising. In 2018, L’Oréal absorbed “ModiFace”, a Toronto-based technology company specializing in beauty applications including augmented reality. Among the clients of this Canadian company were the big rivals of L’Oréal, such as Shiseido, Estée Lauder and LVMH, the global luxury giant which owns among others Sephora, the chain of stores selling perfumes and products. cosmetics.
This acquisition was seen as a real uppercut by L’Oréal’s competitors, especially since the AI-based technology that ModiFace has developed, and which is capable of establishing a skin diagnosis and a facial analysis, is similar to that contained in the Perso application.
Create a personal connection with smart devices
The Shiseido brand was not present at CES 2020, but that is not why it is lagging behind L’Oréal at the technological level. In fact, Shiseido also released their own smart skincare device, named “Optune,” six months before CES in Las Vegas. This equipment also shares many similarities with Perso.
Both machines use artificial intelligence to analyze photos of a user’s face, with the aim of detecting possible skin problems and pairing that information with location-based weather and air pollution data. of the user. The goal is to create a personalized moisturizer with the click of a button!
However, Optune may also incorporate additional data into its analysis, including regarding sleep time and information on stress levels and menstrual cycles. This product, Optune, was made possible by the association of two technology companies acquired in 2017, MATCHCo and Giaran. It is available to the public, on a subscription basis that costs 10,000 yen per month, or just under € 80.
Brand and products
Unlike L’Oréal, Shiseido did not declare its intention to become a leader in Beauty Tech when launching Optune. Instead, the Japanese cosmetics giant is focusing on how technology can make its brand and products a leader in personalized face and skin care.
In an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review recently, Shiseido President Masahiko Uotani said no cosmetics company has yet been able to incorporate full personalization into their business models. He added that if Shiseido were in the lead in this area, they could probably get ahead of the world leader in the sector, L’Oréal.
Products like Optune are designed and developed at the Shiseido Global Innovation Center, located in Yokohama, Japan. For obvious reasons, many corporate innovation labs operate in secrecy and are not open to the public. Shiseido took an opposite approach, giving the public the ability to access the first two floors of the center. In addition to housing a museum, café and fitness studio, this large complex allows visitors to chat with company researchers and learn about the brand’s latest technological innovations.
Although Shiseido has not acquired a tech company since 2017, it is still active in the startup business. Its venture capital fund, Shiseido Venture Partners, has already made four investments in two companies since its inception in 2016. Shiseido’s venture capital fund focuses primarily on the impact technology can have on its clients.