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Diagnostics tools in cosmetics retail: brands need to act now

By Lucy Whitehouse + , 09-Apr-2014
Last updated on 09-Apr-2014 at 17:16 GMT2014-04-09T17:16:00Z

Diagnostics tools in cosmetics retail: brands need to act now

The increasing trend towards diagnostic tools in cosmetics retail is being fuelled by innovation and consumer demand for personalization; experts suggest brands need to grab the opportunity to make the most of this before third parties step in.

Head of personal care at technological consultancy firm Cambridge Consultants, Peter Luebcke, tells Cosmetics Design that diagnostics tools are already being harnessed by retailers.

Connectivity is helping retailers sell more through ‘assistive retailer technology’ to deliver differentiating and choice-shaping store experiences that create value for which consumers are prepared to pay a premium,” Luebcke told

Yet, as skin analysis apps for the cosmetics consumer from third-party developers start to emerge , brands will need to keep pushing innovation to stay ahead of the curve.  


The industry expert dismissed the suggestion that retailers might be hesitant about diagnostic tools, due to their potential to limit profitable trial-and-error purchasing patterns.

He noted that if anything, the added value consumers perceive in the in-store diagnostics functionality will draw them back to physical stores.

However, Luebcke also reiterated the current industry mantra about the importance of digital, predicting that this will shape the future of diagnostics; “not only is the use of mobile phones in purchasing projected to rise to 19% by 2016, but increasingly mobile phones are being used as diagnostic devices”.

This is where beauty brands run the risk of losing out to third party developers; apps such as the Fujitsu ‘Skincare App’, which uses a “Color Frame” card to provide a color reference for the smartphone camera and is not associated with a specific beauty brand, look set to become popular.

Brands on trend

Sephora and Shiseido were highlighted by Luebcke as examples of beauty brands asserting themselves to stay ahead of the trend.

Sephora has implemented an m-POS (mobile point of sale) solution where an app enables customers not only to use their handsets in-store to scan products, get reviews and buy products, but also to check themselves out,” he explained.

Similarly, beauty brand Shiseido offers virtual mirrors displaying augmented images of what customers would look like wearing their make-up.”

These brands are currently leading the way for beauty businesses looking to harness the profitability of the diagnostics trends.  

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