Beauty apps ‘underutilized’ as a tool to promote cosmetics

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Beauty apps ‘underutilized’ as a tool to promote cosmetics
As the market for online cosmetics continues to return healthy growth rates, beauty marketers could still be extending their digital reach further by tapping into apps to promote brands, new research says.

Beauty apps are becoming increasingly popular in line with the huge growth rate in shopping from mobile devices, but according to the latest report from Kline Group, these apps could be used more by brands to establish all-important differentiation.

Titled Going Digital: Who’s Who in the World of Beauty Apps, the report highlights some of the most influential apps on the market and how they are impacting consumer patterns, particularly in the color cosmetics category.

No more expensive mistakes

The reason such apps have had an impact in this category is down to the simple fact that consumers can readily experiment with new color cosmetics effects without making the expensive mistakes of buying a product and then realizing it is not appropriate after it has been used and can be no longer returned.

The report also highlights how such devices can also be used in the hair coloring category, with apps that allow consumers to upload their own image and then determine what is the best hair color shade for them, now readily available.

This ties in with the growing trends towards beauty product that tap into multiculturalism, as well the related trend for tailored products that suit specific tastes, coloring or looks – ultimately helping to create a more personalized take on beauty.

Adapting to the multicultural and personalized trends

In the report the Kline researchers highlight how beauty apps can be easily adapted to meet the demands of these trends, while also stressing that few are doing this successfully.

“As consumers continue to prefer experience over possessions it will be pertinent for beauty companies to respond appropriately,”​ the report highlights.

“Beauty apps will remain and important tool when it comes to generating interest in a brand and creating loyalty for a brand, company or retailer,”​ the researchers also state.

65 different apps analyzed

The Kline researchers analysed 65 different beauty apps to draw conclusions about how and why the leading apps on the market are most effective.

Those apps included big brand and retailer names such as Birchbox, Sephora, Estee Lauder, OPI and Avon, together with smaller app providers such as Sparkly, Bangstyle and Amazing Face – all of which were primarily focused on the sale of cosmetics.

The first wave of beauty apps appeared in 2009, and since then the latest versions have become significantly more sophisticated – although the Kline Group believes that many of them are still missing out on an estimated $45bn in sales from mobile devices in the US during the course of 2015.

According to Kline researchers, there are a number of leading apps where consumers are spending their time and money, but beauty does not feature highly when it comes to user engagement which translates into limited user time.

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