Seamless Consumer - In search of personal self-discovery
INSIDE beauty asked market research and communications insiders about the most important trends. In this interview, Judith Barbolini reveals what we should look out for this year.
This interview appeared in the trade magazine INSIDE beauty issue 1/2023.
When we shop, we bring values into our lives, according to your statement, Ms. Barbolini. That sounds plausible. Care products and fragrances also each convey a special image and stand for values...
From a depth-psychological perspective, the shopping process is particularly exciting because it brings us into an exchange with ourselves. Who do I want to be? How do I want to present myself to myself and others? This becomes particularly clear with care products and fragrances, as we help to shape and express our personality olfactorically. If you wear Chanel, you reproduce a certain image of classic French elegance. With Davidoff Cool Water, completely different images are carried along, of cool beauty and sportiness.
With care products and the right fragrance, I treat myself to something that does me good and, at best, also strengthens me. In uncertain times, this can also mean "an anchor" for many, right?
Quite! In many depth psychological studies at rheingold, we experience that the current times are associated with uncertainty and loss of control for many people. When we can no longer control and survey the world, it does us good to reflect on our own. There are different ways of dealing with this. Some people go to the gym to shape and steel their bodies, others find security in small rituals of self-care. Stroking one's own body in the process gives a feeling of confidence and reassurance, just as we know it does with small children.
In the future, we will be even more in search of personal self-awareness and self-discovery, orientation and individual development.Judith Barbolini
We already know the hybrid consumer. They want to be wooed, like to buy sometimes online, sometimes in stores, and are on the move on different channels at the same time. This hybrid consumer is being "replaced" by the so-called seamless consumer. Could you briefly characterize this consumer?
Artificial intelligence (AI) and ever greater networking and virtualization mean that we live in a world in which everything can change at any time. The seamless consumer goes one step further than the hybrid consumer. Decoupled from natural rhythms and life patterns, we will act even more flexibly according to our situational needs. On the other hand, this fluid reality of life confronts us again and again with the need to permanently reinvent ourselves. In the future, we will be even more in search of personal self-awareness and self-discovery, of orientation and individual further development.
A curated selection and personalized advice can provide guidance. What is the best way to reach the Seamless Consumer?
The seamless consumer wants to be understood individually, to discover and live out his or her own uniqueness. In particular, offers that allow people to discover something about their own personality will meet with great fascination. AI, DNA tests, skin screening and other personalized solutions will play an important role in this. It will be less about product offerings and more about solutions to life questions: How do I stay healthy? How do I keep moving?
What should beauty consultants look for when consulting?
The implicit request to beauty consultants is: How do I become my most beautiful self? Everyone is beautiful in an individual way, and in the future it will be more important than ever to emphasize these characteristics. Since we will be able to be more and more everything in the future, there will also be fewer concrete role models to orient ourselves by. Beauty consultants will therefore be beauty psychologists in the best sense of the word, helping customers to express their inner and outer values. This is less about recommending individual products and more about packages and solutions that are tailored to the individual and also extend beyond the product field of beauty into other areas (such as health).
They say: In the future, people will no longer buy products, but solutions. This is already practiced in our industry, where people buy cosmetics and fragrances to pamper themselves, to fulfill a dream, or to solve a skin problem. What will be particularly important for consumers in the future?
We can think this one step further in the future, when these solutions and communications will no longer be prefabricated, but hyper-personalized. The development of AI will offer us possibilities for personalization that we can currently only begin to imagine. When a machine calculates which products and services, based on my anonymized skin analysis, DNA or blood test, will rid my skin of acne and at the same time make my lactose intolerance disappear, or when a facial recognition system uses AI to analyze my facial expressions and derive cosmetic solutions from them, this development holds great fascination, don't you think?
The interview was conducted by Susanne Stoll, Editor-in-Chief of INSIDE beauty.
Since 2011 at the rheingold institute and member of the management board. She speaks five languages and conducts research, especially internationally. Her other areas of focus are social and cultural research, cleaning and personal care, and interior design.