The research company’s recent report, ‘New & Unique Innovation in the Beauty Market’, reveals that in 2008, approximately 50 percent of users of social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace were female.
Similarly, almost 50 percent of mobile internet users in the US in 2009 were female, demonstrating the potential of the internet as a brand building tool.
Virtual Experience-based shopping
Some of the ways in which beauty brands have used the internet to connect with consumers include online make-up tutorials, virtual make over applications, and customized iPhone applications.
In 2009, Mary Kay and Estée Lauder launched virtual make over applications, where consumers can upload a photo and try out color cosmetics via a professional virtual make over – the results of which can then be shared with friends.
Predictably, the proliferation of iPhone applications has also given rise to similar generic applications which can be customized by different brands, such as aBeautyPro.
The various online make-up tutorials on YouTube from companies such as Lush, Iman and MAC are also tapping into the trend for replicating the in-store experience.
“For MAC, a company with a background in professional make-up, its online tutorials are a great way to reassure consumers they are a professional brand,” saidGrail Research client service officer Kate James.
Current interaction just the tip of the iceberg
James told CosmeticsDesign.com USA that she believes the use of the internet by beauty companies will become more and more popular, resulting in the development of new ways to connect with consumers.
“I think this is just the tip of the iceberg of how brands are going to interact,” she said.
James identified the virtual make over application as a trend that has really taken off, but said that how brands should use the virtual space to reach consumers depends on which techniques are best for the company.
Using MAC and Estée Lauder as examples, James said companies need to consider both their brand and how they are looking to target the online community.
“MAC tutorials on YouTube are probably targeting younger consumers, whereas Estée Lauder’s applications on its website are probably targeting a particular type of consumer – one that doesn’t have time to go to the store or that uses the internet at work, for example,” she explained.