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Beauty, grooming and self-pampering during lockdown

After a tough 2020, most businesses saw a revival, some movement and an upswing in the first quarter of 2021. To gain an insight into how the beauty business has fared over the past six months, we caught up with Mrunmay Mehta, Head, Beauty and Luxury Beauty at Amazon India. As most cities begin curfews and lockdowns once again, will there be a slump or rise in demand of beauty products? What are the beauty trends we can try at home and which grooming tools are a must have. To get more details., read on: Q: What has the sale of beauty products on Amazon Beauty been like in the last 6 months? Which products have seen the highest demand? A: We have observed that customers are looking for ways to stay engaged at home through self-pampering, spending time on grooming and experimenting with makeup. The eye category has seen maximum acceleration followed by lips category. The premium beauty business is recovering at a faster pace and continues to accelerate online. The perfume category is also witnessing an increase in demand among customers. These categories will continue to accelerate online, given increased customer adoption of online as a buying channel in the new normal we live in. In the last six months, we have witnessed a surge in demand for beauty products such as eye-make up, matte and transfer proof lipsticks, skincare, and beauty tools and accessories on our platform. Q: Bollywood and beauty -- what's the impact and why isn't Amazon Beauty part of the trajectory? A: Customers today are inspired by not just Bollywood but in fact a lot more by so many digital platforms, influencers, and social media. Fashion and beauty trends have been influenced by films for the longest time. Even today, this is largely evident in customers across markets including tier-2 and tier-3 cities. In early 2020, we collaborated with Filmfare as the title sponsor of the 65th edition of Filmfare Awards to bring alive the connection between entertainment, fashion, and beauty. Besides, we also created a storefront to leverage the make-up looks of the characters from the 'Bandish Bandits' web series on Prime Video. At Amazon, we also have a large affiliates program, where influencers can host their page on Amazon and direct traffic to it through their channels. Lastly, Amazon overall has multiple channels of customer engagement and acquisition across customer touchpoints such as FoundIt and Fashion Influencer Program, from which we continue to see a rapid increase in our customer base for beauty as well. Q: What are the biggest beauty trends for 2021? A: As the world lives with the pandemic, customers are looking to stay engaged at home through self-pampering, spending time on grooming and experimenting with make-up. The make-up and premium beauty business had taken a momentary pause in March 2020 but has slowly recovered to its pre-Covid performance with the advent of video conference calls. Highlighting some broad trends, we're witnessing on Amazon Beauty over the past six months: * Revival of Makeup: With eyes becoming the new lips, within make-up, the eye category has seen maximum acceleration. Brands have quickly aligned themselves to innovate in the lips category by moving from gloss and shine lipsticks to promoting matte (transfer-proof and smudge-proof) lipsticks, tinted lip balms and tint this season, only to stay in line with the new norms-- they can be worn with face masks. * See the Rainbow: There is an emergence of joyful colours, be it on the lips, eyes, or the cheek. While minimalism as a trend continues, products will be used to add a dash of colour to the eyes (yellow, blue, pink etc.) * Natural Effortless Glam: A naturally glamorous and glowing face has made a comeback. Customers are now doubling down on highlighters and bronzers that offer a glowing face coupled with dramatic lashes and blushed cheeks. * Clean Beauty: Today, customers are mindful about product ingredients and formulations. With people spending more time and research on their beauty routines, there has been a distinct rise in the adoption of natural, organic, and plant-based skincare and haircare as well as natural makeup products. * Salon at Home: With customers facing limitations in visiting salons, the focus on professional skincare and haircare products has multiplied. We are seeing a surge in demand for professional brands on Amazon Beauty which were only popular with salons earlier. Q: How has Amazon Beauty integrated technology on its platform, how has the customers approach been towards using it? A: Amazon Beauty has rolled out a feature called 'Virtual Try On (VTO)', which allows customers to try on colour cosmetics virtually. Customers can either use a photograph stored in their phones or one of pre-loaded model faces or even live camera (android only at present) to use this feature. The visual nature of this feature allows the user to test colour cosmetics and see how it will look on their skin virtually, bridging the gap between the offline and online buying experience and making shopping effortless on Amazon Beauty. Lakhs of customers have tried VTO and we see a higher purchase intent from customers who interact with it. Q: Skincare being the new make-up, what are the highest selling products currently? A: During the pandemic, we have observed the epicentre of beauty shift from make-up to skincare. With the limited choice of stepping out and the consequent rise of work from home culture, people began to pay attention to their cleansing, toning, and moisturising (CTM) regimen more religiously, leading to a double-digit spike on our platform especially within product range of night creams, sunscreen, face oils and face serums. Customer's consumption habits slowly drifted towards products that offer several benefits and uses. They also opted for double duty make-up products like lip tint, which can be used both on lips and cheeks as blush or tinted sunscreens and moisturises for both SPF protection and light coverage. Beauty tools and accessories too saw a double-digit spike as the demand for products such as makeup tools, facial massager, gua sha stone and jade roller surged. Q: 5 must have beauty products available on Amazon Beauty A: Amazon Beauty offers India's widest selection of beauty products and brands, ranging from luxury beauty to everyday essentials, attracting new customers every day. We house 30,000 plus brands and 12 lakh plus products for customers to choose from across categories such as skincare, haircare, make-up, fragrance, natural remedies, men's grooming, among others. Here are 5 must-have beauty essentials for everyday use available on Amazon Beauty: *Lightweight moisturisers *Mattifying sunscreens *Transfer proof lipsticks *Long lasting perfumes

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