New reality: China, millennial and Gen Z consumers are driving the future of AI and AR beauty tech

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Perfect Corp believes AI- and AR-powered technology will play an increasingly essential role in the beauty industry. ©GettyImages
Perfect Corp believes AI- and AR-powered technology will play an increasingly essential role in the beauty industry. ©GettyImages

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Tech company Perfect Corp believes AI- and AR-powered technology will play an increasingly essential role in the beauty industry, thanks to China’s tech-driven ecosystems and the interest of young consumers.

Perfect Corp is the developer behind a suite of virtual beauty apps such as YouCam Makeup, which have accumulated over 750 million downloads globally.

The Taiwan-based firm has utilised its virtual try-on technology to bring consumers a virtual ‘try before you buy’ experience online and in-store.

This Beauty SaaS service was conceived as a solution to time-consuming, inconvenient and unhygienic make-up testing.

“Beauty AI and AR technology enable beauty lovers the freedom to try as many product and SKUs within a short amount of time. Such technology not only offers an easy, fun and interactive shopping experience to the consumers, but also bring more sales opportunities to the brands,” ​explained Louis Chen, senior vice president and chief strategy officer, Perfect Corp.

“The new norm”

With over 10 billion annual AR try-ons worldwide on its platform, Chen believes this consumer behaviour is becoming “the new norm”.

“AI and AR technology already play an essential role in the beauty buying process. Perfect Corp. is serving more than 250 brands from around the world, who have adopted Perfect’s Beauty SaaS services in various touchpoints.”

The company believes this demand is driven by the hyper-digital Chinese market.

“China is the fastest-growing market for beauty AI and AR technology. The growing number of middle-class users and a highly digitalised lifestyle contributed to this,”​ said Chen.

For instance, he explained, the mobile phone was an integral part of their daily life. Take WeChat as an example, it is an important social channel for beauty brands growing business in China market given its unique ecosystem combining social, payment, activities and shopping.”

This digital landscape has made it easy for Perfect Corp’s virtual try-on service to blend into the ecosystem.

To enable beauty brands to give its Chinese consumers a digital beauty experience, the firm developed a WeChat mini beauty service.

“This gave users in China easy access to our advanced AI and AR technology so they could enjoy the digital beauty experience right from their mobile phones,” ​said Chen.

While China is a prime market for its products, Chen said beauty consumers all over the globe have a need for virtual beauty try-on services.

“We believe beauty lovers all have the need for a more streamlined, easier ‘try before you buy’ beauty experience. Our mission is to develop the most innovative beauty technologies to bring customer-centric experience for makeup, skin care, and hair try-ons in all consumer touchpoints,” ​he said.

Young consumers driving future

Chen believes the interest from younger beauty consumers is an indicator of the future potential of virtual try-on technology.

“From our data, it shows over 76% of users coming from the millennial and Gen Z demographics. This is the future of how these consumers would like to experience products on mobile, in-store, on websites and on social media.”

He added that the company continued to see strong demand for more AR and AI features such as skin diagnosis, hair colour try-on and foundation shade finder.

“By leveraging AI deep learning technology, we are focusing to develop new innovations like AI Smart Shade Finder to analyse user’s skin tone and provides personalised recommendations on matching foundation products.”

Aside from developing new try-on features, the company is also working on include smaller beauty brands.

“There are more and local players and indie brands emerging in the market, the e-commerce online website tend to be their main marketplace. Therefore, virtual try on becomes more important because it would serve as the major way for their users to experience the product before purchase.”

This year the company launched, YouCam for Web, a self-service subscription solution to cater to the growing demand of small and medium businesses looking to leverage artificial intelligence AI and AR beauty tech solutions.

With it, brands can have full control over product management and scheduling. Additionally, brands can also access to data report from a backend platform for detailed marketing insights.

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