Healthcare: 7 Technology Trends in Personal Care [2020] | ScaleFocus
July 26, 2019

Healthcare: 7 Technology Trends in Personal Care [2020]

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Technology is reshaping every aspect of our lives. Personal care is not an exception, and the healthcare industry leaders are in a constant race to evolve their products and services to keep up with the latest technology trends.

According to a recent report by Hexa Research, the global personal care products market will reach a staggering cap of $650 billion by 2024. The report states that:

“Companies are extensively investing in R&D for product innovation and new product development. For instance, annually large enterprises invest approximately 1.5% to 4.5% of their turnover on R&D activities”.

Hexa Research

To help you foresee potential opportunities for your business and stay ahead of your competitors, I prepared a list of 7 personal care technology trends that will influence consumer behavior in the next few years.

1. Wearable Technology in Healthcare

Wearable technology has been a game-changing trend in healthcare for the past few years and by the looks of it, it isn’t going away anytime soon. Ever since devices like smartwatches first appeared, digital personal care products have been getting more popular by the day.

An image illustrating a man and a woman outdoors checking their fitness performance data on a pair of smartwatches.

Equipped with contemporary hardware and software, they allow us to better take care of ourselves by monitoring various aspects of our personal health like:

  • Physical activity
  • Quality of sleep
  • Heart condition
  • Calorie intake

In the next couple of years, the latest personal care technology trends will heavily influence the way we take care of our skin and beauty in general. Although wearables for the beauty category are still in their infancy, there has been a rush to launch sun care and skincare monitoring devices.

With their help, we can track, measure and monitor appearance and health in real-time. This new empowerment makes it much easier for consumers to make informed decisions on how to improve their skin condition among other personal care aspects of their lives. As a result, they can have a constant stream of information that shows whether or not the products and regime they are following are truly effective or there’s a need to adjust.

For example, consumers can even measure UV exposure in real-time or even track the vitamin D production of their skin. There are even wearable pollution trackers that constantly keep us informed about the air quality around us. Check out some of the other ways this technology is already helping us:

We expect this to be among the personal care technology trends that will gain even more traction by the end of 2020, so if you already haven’t started, it is not too late to get ahead.

2. Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Machines have been getting smarter and smarter ever since artificial intelligence (AI) became more than science fiction. Therefore, it is no surprise that AI has even penetrated the personal care technology market and is likely to become more than a trend.

Artificial intelligence illustrated as a machine with a human face expressing the ability of advanced machines to mimic cognitive functions of human minds.

To explain it simply, the term is used to describe machines that mimic “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem-solving”.

The brightest example of artificial intelligence technology in healthcare are chatbots. They’ve become a valuable asset to companies of all scales because the technology is good for various purposes including personal care, customer service or information acquisition.

Still, as this is an arguable topic, we must clarify that not all chatbots classify as AI. The majority of the simpler versions scan for keywords within the input, then pull a reply with the most matching keywords, or the most similar wording pattern, from a database. On the other hand, advanced chatbots are equipped with natural language processing systems that allow them to analyze human speech and learn based on the conversation.

Artificial intelligence is based on machine learning, which is practically a scientific study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems use to perform specific tasks effectively without the need for explicit instructions by consumers. Thanks to it, personal care technology can instead rely on patterns to assist us in taking care of ourselves better.

“AI is everywhere. It’s not that big, scary thing in the future. AI is here with us.”

Fei-Fei Li | Professor of Computer Science | Stanford University

Having this in mind, it is not surprising that healthcare companies have been exploring the possibilities that artificial intelligence provides. There have been reports of startups acting on this technology trend to determine the best skincare routines for people based on their skin type and needs, and we expect this personal care technology trend to continue in the next years.

3. Voice Activation

With the rise of wearable devices and artificial intelligence, voice activation has been gaining rapid popularity. According to Statista, 31% of smartphone users worldwide use voice tech at least once a week and 20% of all searches on Google are voice ones.

A voice-activated smart device placed on a stack of books ready to act on your command.

This clearly demonstrates the potential of the technology and we expect it to significantly influence the market for personal care products by 2021. From the looks of it, we are not the only ones that think so as brands like L’Oréal and Sephora are working on voice activation to enrich their shopping platforms.

“It’s growing faster than even the web and mobile, and the adoption is faster. I think people are more open to new technology than they were before. It doesn’t seem foreign to us to talk to something. Voice is a very convenient way to communicate, especially with technology. The adoption is pretty remarkable across all age groups.”

Ava Mutchler | Associate Editor | Voicebot.ai

Without a doubt, voice activation will transform search engines and will make it easier for consumers to find the products they need in the third decade of the 21st century facing market abundance and a growing difficulty to choose between similar products.

In fact, according to the UN in 2020 more than half of all internet searches are likely to be voice generated. If you haven’t already figured out how to ride the voice activation technology trend, we suggest you consider making the customer experience more personalized and interactive online with its help.

This leads us to another use of voice activation technology that is just gaining traction – virtual assistants.

4. Virtual Assistants

Just to be clear, by virtual assistant we don’t have in mind the human assistants working remotely via the internet. We are referring to a technology that is composed of AI-powered machines, connected to various IoT objects and activated by voice.

Virtual assistants are growing in popularity and are among the technology trends that will gain huge traction in the near future. They allow us to do various things like finding information, stream music, purchase items, and much more by just giving a simple command.

Relying on this technology we can save time otherwise required to manually perform various activities. Instead, we can concentrate on matters that require our attention.

Their use cases for personal care are yet to expand as voice-activated virtual assistants are already capable of suggesting actions based on gathered data related to our wellbeing. For example, they can remind us to stay hydrated by stating that it’s been a while since the last time we drank water.

In the future, voice assistants are going to be even more capable of making our lives easier and interact with an even greater aspect of our increasingly digitalized daily routines. As a result, they will become more than a technology trend in the future.

5. Internet of Things

The internet is slowly but surely spreading to enhance the tools we use in our day-to-day lives. The number of devices that we can connect to the network is at an all-time high. This provides a variety of opportunities for personal care brands by giving them the ability to collect data and enhance user experience.

As this technology trend is just getting traction, you are in a fantastic position to ride the early train and get ahead of your competitors in the next few years. Some of the beauty industry leaders are already investing heavily into the internet of things (IoT) technology to keep their positions and we advise you to follow their example.

A picture illustrating an IoT connected hairbrush and a smartphone device with a personal care application connected to the brush.For example, L’Oréal introduced a smart hairbrush designed to minimize the damage of split ends and breakage associated with forceful hair brushing. It is also capable of monitoring the effects of different hair care routines and providing customized product recommendations.

The product called Kérastase’s Hair Coach has multiple sensors embedded in the brush that send data via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to a dedicated app, which provides information about the quality of hair and brushing patterns. In addition, the product considers weather factors such as humidity, temperature, UV, and wind to provide user experience of a new generation.

Another bright perspective that the IoT technology trend brings is related to personal care for senior citizens. The demographic trend for the past couple of decades is negative in most of the developed countries. Logically, the senior population (age 65+) is only going to grow percentage-wise.

IoT can help our loved ones live their golden years to the full extent and take better care of themselves. This personal care technology trend is, in fact, part of many active aging strategies supported by western governments.

For example, IoT-based technology can collect health, emotional, and cognitive data from sensors, smart meters, video and audio devices. Then, it can provide recommendations for a healthy diet, lifestyle, and hobbies.

More importantly, such personal care technology is capable of monitoring a person’s vital signs and medication, which can prevent potentially fatal incidents caused by unawareness of the senior citizen.

Still, if a problem arises (e.g. physical injury), IoT-based devices can immediately notify the person’s loved ones, caretakers, or emergency services, significantly reducing the chance for a fatal outcome.

The only thing holding back this personal care technology trend is the high price of IoT connected devices at the moment. However, we expect this to change in the near future and in the next few years, the mass consumer is likely to possess at least a few personal care connected devices.

6. Augmented Reality

Another personal care technology trend that is yet to show its full potential is augmented reality (AR). It is related to every other technological advancement that we’ve covered so far and will literally change our surrounding reality.

By its nature augmented reality comes in two forms:

  • Constructive
  • Destructive

Logically, constructive AR allows users to see around them things that don’t exist in the physical world. Destructive augmented reality does exactly the opposite – masks things in their natural environment.

“I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you.”

Tim Cook | CEO | Apple

An image illustrating a young woman trying out makeup on an augmented reality mirror.Understanding the possibilities that this technology can bring for the personal care products industry, tech startups have been pioneering AR-based tools. For example, a company called ModiFace has developed a smart mirror that allows customers to virtually try on makeup without actually applying it to their skin or test different hair colors.

Even if it sounds like science fiction, this technology is very real and is already present in some of the premium stores of the leading personal care brands. As it is still in an early stage of development, you’ve got the perfect chance to be among the early adopters and turn it into a profitable asset for your business.

7. Blockchain

The last of the personal care technology trends on our list is the implication of blockchain systems to supply management.

A visualization of blockchain technology illustrated as a virtual chain of connected devices on a blue and black background.

If you are among the majority of people that associate blockchain technology only with cryptocurrencies, it is important to understand that it has various other uses. One related specifically to personal care product manufacturers is the ability to have better supply tracking.

By nature, the personal care supply chain is extremely complex and yet it is often loosely regulated. As there are multiple handoffs from product development to customer delivery, the chance for counterfeiting is very real.

Blockchain technology can prevent that as both visible and covert identifiers on products allow companies to work backward and identify the issues in their supply chain.

Watch real-world blockchain applications in healthcare in this video.

From a consumer point of view, we expect to see a revolution by the appearance of decentralized personal care records. Due to the nature of the technology, on which they are based, such records can provide immutable proof of health data provenance and integrity. As a result, we can expect better outcomes and personalized healthcare based on our medication adherence and treatment history.

For example, such an archive was introduced in London in 2018. It provides 30 million U.K. NHS (National Health Service) patients with instant access to their primary care information, their personal care pathways and medication adherence support through their smartphones.

In Conclusion

The future holds countless opportunities for personal care brands that understand the importance of internet technology for scaling their business. As the internet is spreading to affect every aspect of our lives the 7 personal care technology trends that we covered in this article will gain even more traction in the next few years.

What all of them have in common is the need for digital applications. We understand that nobody can be a master of all trades. Thus, we are here to help you turn your vision into reality.