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China’s cosmetics and consumer trends in 2017 part II: A new technological era

By Natasha Spencer , 11-Jan-2017
Last updated on 11-Jan-2017 at 16:20 GMT2017-01-11T16:20:46Z

China's cosmetics and technology trends in 2017

As China strives towards maximising its opportunities through the use of dynamic and intuitive technologies, we asked Delon Wang, Manager of Asia Pacific Trends at Mintel, what we can expect to see from the country this year.

The adoption of new technologies that replace many of consumers’ mundane daily rituals, including the use of robots, is set to be a core area that beauty, cosmetics and personal care companies will explore in 2017.

Custom-made cyborg convenience  

The market research company’s findings show that 60% of Chinese consumers used Internet pay-by-credit service in 2016. In addition, in China, third-party online payment services, such as Alipay Wallet and WeChat Wallet, have become the payment method of choice as consumers prioritise convenience and efficiency.

Mobile app payment accounts for 65% of all payments and is the second most popular choice after cash.

“Alternative payments, artificial intelligence and automated services will see a lot more development,” Mintel reported.

“There is a growing sense that anything is possible, an expectation of efficiency, a desire for customisation within boundaries, a rising acceptance of new technology, and robots are everywhere!”

“Robots and drones are already finding their way into more aspects of Chinese consumers’ (and companies) lives," said Matthew Crabbe, research director of APAC.

“As more of their daily lives become automated, consumers will utilise the greater spare time afforded to them by taking up new pursuits.”

Alternative realities set to explode

As the cyborg trend looks to remove unwanted daily interruptions or menial tasks from consumers’ lives, the alternative realities trend looks to improve consumers' quality of life by promoting escapism.

Brands are developing a range of innovative technologies in the alternative realities segment.

“For instance chatbots that speak to consumers will largely see application in terms of customer service but it is quite clear that beauty experts, influencers and health professionals will still play a strong role in helping consumers make that decision," stated Delon Wang, Manager of Trends APAC at Mintel.

“The development and adoption of VR in China have been rapid and world leading. But the full range of potential applications of this technology is only just beginning to emerge. We are likely to be spending a lot more time in the virtual world, doing virtual things with virtual people,” added Wang.

Rapid developments underway

Consumers are enjoying the freedom and exploration that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology providing by allowing them to interact and select holidays. In the near future, the concept of virtual supermarkets may become a reality as retailers experiment with its application.

Mintel commented: “Virtual reality and electronic media are increasingly finding new applications and adoption for new tasks in China. This is bringing consumer engagement into the realm of online gaming-style play, augmenting the interaction with brands.”

“VR is rapidly helping to grow try-before-you-buy services, which could increase customer satisfaction and reduce returns, and is likely to lead to more of a modify-before-you-buy concept.”

“Complementary technology that offers custom advice may make a considerable impact on the sector. Already, we’ve seen a number of brands launching retail stores with advice-giving augmented reality mirrors, allowing women to sample virtual nail colours and apply make-up filters for selfies on Snapchat,"  she concluded.

The key for brands now is to produce new content to expand and diversify the market.

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