Over the past five years, the multi-billion dollar category has introduced unprecedented scientific advances from light therapy based on NASA research to anti-ageing devices for facial stimulation approved by the USFDA, the de facto global watchdog of the cosmetics industry. According to Karen Doskow, director, consumer products, for Kline & Company, the leading international market research firm, consumers around the world have a strong appetite for devices that will help them perfect the health and appearance of their skin.
Foreo is at the forefront of this fundamental shift and has been providing state-of-the-art, portable facial and oral devices that offer professional-grade, on-the-go treatments since 2013. The beauty tech innovator was founded in Sweden and has captured global attention as more and more women look for both immediate and long term skin benefits.
In only five years, Foreo has grown from a startup to a US$1 billion a year business, supplying more than 77 countries worldwide, says Hannah Holmes, General Manager, Foreo Oceania. “We too have enjoyed a rapid growth trajectory since launching in Australia in 2014. Last year we were tapped as Sephora’s number one skincare brand, month-on-month. Worldwide, one Foreo product is sold every three seconds”. Foreo’s significant marketing edge centres on our thirst for meaningful innovation, adds Holmes, who has worked in the Australian beauty industry for 14 years. “We think beyond commercial objectives to bring intrinsic value to people’s lives. Functionality alone isn’t enough to support the continued success of a product. Our design considerations service real consumer needs such as product maintenance, portability, footprint and charging frequency”.
Today’s consumers are super-engaged and educated in ways never seen before, so achieving cut-through in a crowded market is crucial. At CES 2018 in Las Vegas in January, the world’s biggest electronics fair, Foreo was named as one of the top four disruptor brands alongside Netflix, KIA and Intel, says Holmes.
I attended with the global team and our stand was located in the rather sedate Health & Wellness hall, says Holmes. “Foreo embodies a playful and rebellious spirit and we were dressed in military and FBI-style clothing, surrounding a razor wire covered bunker for our latest product launch - the UFO. Buyers were blindfolded and taken through the interactive booth to experience the performance and key features of the world’s first smart mask”.
To create more buzz, the UFO - which stands for Ur Future Obsession - was also used to prime and prep the skin of the runway models at Victoria Beckham’s Autumn/Winter 2018 show at New York Fashion Week. It’s also a product that talks directly to time-poor single mums like myself, says Holmes. “The UFO is revolutionary, combining Swedish beauty technology and Korean mask expertise to deliver a spa-quality facial treatment in only 90 seconds”.
There are three key components - the device, the microfibre mask and an activating app. Featuring Hyper-Infusion Technology, the UFO uses thermo-therapy (to warm and open pores) and cryotherapy (cooling to seal ingredients). A trio of LED light wavelengths - Red (to stimulate collagen production), Green (to brighten and even out skin tone) and Blue (to fight acne-causing bacteria) and T-sonic pulsations help to deliver soft and glowing skin. Two sheet masks are pre-programmed
Foreo’s core mission is to prove how much more effective skincare products can be when used with their ground-breaking devices. Take our top selling LUNA mini 2 facial brush, for example, says Holmes. “It is made with medical grade silicone touchpoints and can be used with a consumer’s preferred cream or gel cleanser. Channelling T-sonic pulsations at 8000 times per minute, it removes 99.5 percent of dirt and impurities from the pores. Unblocked pores not only give the skin a smoother, more refined texture, but serums and moisturisers are able to penetrate more deeply into the skin’s layers for enhanced results. The sonic pulsations also stimulate blood circulation to help the skin look more radiant and healthy”.
Improving the effectiveness of skincare formulas with cutting edge device technology isn’t the only advantage. FOREO facial cleansing devices also bypass many of the concerns consumers have about other sonic cleansing devices. Unlike bristle-based sonic cleansers, our silicone touchpoints are much gentler on the skin, says Holmes. “The use of medical grade silicone means they are 35 per cent more hygienic and not prone to bacteria buildup. They don’t require head replacement and the USB charge lasts for five months of daily use and there’s no need to constantly re-charge as there is with other sonic cleansers”.
Foreo has rapidly become one of the world’s leading beauty tech brands and is sold in more than 7000 stores worldwide. Last year saw the biggest expansion of the brand globally, says Holmes. “We started appearing on the radar in Australia in 2016. The brand entered David Jones top tier stores in 2014 and is now stocked in all of their stores nationwide. We are also available in 41 Myer stores, Adore Beauty and other leading beauty e-tailers. Becoming the number one skincare brand in Sephora in 2017 was amazing and a major milestone”.
Foreo has a range of sonic cleansers - the LUNA 2, LUNA 2 for Men, the best-selling LUNA mini 2 and the entry level LUNA Play and LUNA Play Plus, with prices ranging from $65 to $279. The brand’s other beauty devices include the new UFO smart mask, the IRIS Illuminating Eye Massager and the ESPADA Blue Light Acne treatment, with RRPs of $395, $179 and $199, respectively. Our products fill a void not only on retailers’ shelves, but also in women’s beauty routines, says Holmes. “Ten years ago, consumers were not willing to embrace devices costing $200 or more but there has been a clear market shift as our global growth proves”.
Holmes is just as bullish about Foreo’s future. In terms of product choice, we’re only getting started, she says. “We have a robust pipeline of AI integrated product development. Personalisation is the future of beauty. We are all unique beings of different ages, ethnicities, lifestyles and skin concerns. One size doesn’t fit all and Foreo is on track to pioneer truly individualised skincare solutions”.
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So you have this brand/product that you love like your own child and you feel you have been working 24/7 to get attention. You have invested lots of money and time in packaging, typing up posts, sharing the products with friends, meeting with retailers and distributors and you feel you are still not getting any traction. What do you do next?
The growth of social media has given rise to influencer marketing, now one of the fastest growing categories in advertising and projected to be a $5-10 billion market by 2020*. A larger percentage of the advertising dollar being invested into this component of the marketing mix naturally means greater pressure on marketers to deliver meaningful results from this medium. There is now an emphasis on conducting due diligence when planning your influencer campaigns, especially around your influencer selection, and in particular their followers.