As fashion and beauty have awakened in Web3 and the metaverse, new ways to engage consumers in the future digital future have become a major business priority. Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week, for example, recently ended, while Gucci Beauty and NARS recently joined a growing group of brands launching metaverse initiatives for a more “immersive” experience to the customer.
As the world’s second largest beauty industry with a growing base of native digital consumers, the continent is critical to the success of beauty in this new frontier. Since last year, international brands have been actively partnering with virtual influencers: L’Oréal has named @Ayayi as its brand ambassador, while premium label K-beauty Laneige has named the first virtual man Chinese icon @Chuan as spokesperson. In February this year, the elf chose virtual idol @HaJiang as the main face for its AI beauty campaigns. MAC, the Estée-Lauder-owned brand, launched the “Lightful C3” product line through an ambassador agreement with @Ayayi, a Shanghai-themed beauty pop-up metaverse, and a branded hashtag on #MetaverseGlow social media.
The choice of these brands to place metaverse concepts at the center stage is a recognition of the direction in which the local beauty culture has traveled. On the Xiaohongshu life platform, there are over 1,200 posts from “Metaverse Makeup” sharing DIY tips on how to look like your shiny and flawless digital avatar.
Gen Zers ’enthusiasm for the meta-inspired look began in October 2021, when Liu Yexi – a virtual influencer – debuted on Douyin (the Chinese TikTok) and the following month gained 8.7 million followers. Dressed in traditional Chinese clothing and superhuman abilities, the digital heroine has become an example of the metaverse-inspired beauty adopted by Generation Zers in the country.
On social media, #AIGoddess and #MetaMakeup quickly emerged as rising beauty trends. Always paired with a shimmery, shiny color palette and techno soundtrack, these meta girl makeup music videos have become a popular aesthetic that has now entered the mainstream. For most domestic Gen Zers, this technological thinking ahead of beauty is the latest symbol of cool.
Beyond beauty, the continent is more fertile ground for metaverse business in general. In a Speak to investors, Morgan Stanley estimates that China’s metaverse industry will be worth $ 8 trillion in the future. The proliferation of local metaverse-themed businesses offers a sense of scale. As of February 2022, more than 16,000 metaverse-related trademark applications were filed with China Patent Officeincluding from tech giants Tencent and Alibaba that have invested in key infrastructure in the metaverse.
Consumers ’familiarity with the concept of mixing virtual and real identities is key to attracting the metaverse. In the early 2000s, the QQ Show-a virtual avatar fashion marketplace on Tencent’s first messaging platform-was already popular with millennial teenagers.
For the past decade, China’s youth have been interacting with a metaverse-like web environment: hanging out on virtual avatar social apps like Jelly and Zepeto, watching live virtual streamers on Taobao e-commerce Life platform and connects strangers to the virtual network. . Soul dating app. So for this generation of consumers, separating the boundaries between digital and physical is not a new idea. Extending beauty into the metaverse is just a natural evolution of this long -standing trend.
There is, however, a failure in the metaverse business of Chinese brands. Unlike in the West, cryptocurrencies are banned here and NFTs can only be collected, not sold. Banning all crypto activities is likely to push brands to use the metaverse as a marketing and communication tool rather than a revenue -driven digital commerce platform. Changing regulations in the new technology sector also means that brands have to be careful in every move. Instead of copying and pasting what they do in the West, they need to keep a close eye on the latest policy updates and adapt to the continent’s unique metaverse ecosystem.
To date, beauty brands have focused their efforts on collaborating with virtual influencers or trendy, meta-inspired aesthetics. The next step is to create immersive experiences and dialogues. “Like augmented reality and artificial intelligence, virtual beauty testing and experience technologies have become essential for driving customer engagement. Interactive AR experiences are also important for beauty brands in the metaverse,” he said. said Alice Chang, founder of Perfect Corp, a beauty tech company.
China’s vast young customers and collective optimism for a digital future present an exciting opportunity for the ambitions of the beauty metaverse. As Gen Z feels more immersed in the digital realm, they demand that their metaverse selves be as expressive, creative, and organized as they are in the real world. Yet the country’s unique technology culture also presents a unique challenge. To stay on top of the game, brands must remain alert to Beijing’s ever-changing position in the metaverse and be willing to incorporate “Chinese characteristics” into their overall strategy.