Luxola’s new virtual app: the final blow for beauty boxes in Asia?

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

Luxola’s new virtual app: the final blow for beauty boxes in Asia?

Related tags: Southeast asia

Asian e-commerce giant Luxola recently launched a new mobile app for its beauty offering, which allows customers to virtually try-before-they-buy.

The app, dubbed the LX Studio, lets customers upload images of themselves and apply various products from the e-retailer’s cosmetics offering to include blushers, nail polishes, lipsticks and eye products.

The Singapore based company launched three years ago, and now stocks over 150 international beauty brands; its CEO has noted that the new app responds to demand the company receives from its consumers to test products before purchasing.

Keen to sample

It taps into the trend of sampling which has been dominating in the beauty arena, and gave rise to the ‘beauty box’ phenomenon, which sees brands like Glossybox and Birchbox send consumers beauty samples each month for a subscription fee.

Although a massive trend in the West, sampling has so far been struggling to take off in Asia, due to logistically challenging conditions within the region’s countries, including poor infrastructures for box delivery, and lower budgets among local brands for this kind of marketing.

Luxola’s new app follows in the footsteps of similar launches of virtual cosmetics trailing technology, including those by L’Oreal and Sephora.

It looks like the app and others like it may now provide the answer the Asian market has been looking for, allowing consumers to enjoy instead a virtual sampling service from the convenience of their own mobile phones.

Beating the boxes

Beauty box service providers on the most part find themselves unable to meet the demand among consumers for beauty trialing: by the second half of 2013, the number of beauty box companies in Southeast Asia had already shrunk from 51 to less than 20.

Douglas Gan, CEO of Singapore-based beauty box business 'VanityTrove', recently spoke out about his company’s struggle in the region.

The problem is limited availability of beauty samples. The demand is there, but the supply is not. Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that the marketing budgets of cosmetics companies in Asia aren’t that great​,” Gan told regional publication ‘Tech In Asia’.

Time will now tell if swapping physical testers for virtual ones holds the key to the trend in the APAC region. 

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