Elysha Young
Elysha manages the Asia Pacific Mintel Trends team made up of expert analysts and trend spotters. She currently oversees content for Mintel Trends as well as client servicing for the region.

More and more brands today are entering new territories and extending into categories never before explored. This is a strategy that’s discussed in Mintel Trend ‘Extend My Brand’, which highlights how brands are expanding into new categories and demographics to find new business as well as intrigue consumers.

In fact, the practice is becoming popular with Chinese technology companies. Meitu is one of China’s most popular apps for editing and improving selfies, but it has struggled to move beyond its core product in recent years. In 2019, Meitu announced plans to move into the real world with the release of a facial cleansing device that promises to make a user’s face as perfect in real life as it looks in a selfie.

The newly-launched MeituSpa smart skin cleansing brush device comes with four different skincare modes, namely Sonic Cleansing; Deep Derivation; Nourishing Import; and Sensitive Massage. The product promises to remove dirt from deep inside the skin’s pores using sonic pulsations.

MeituSpa smart skin cleansing brush device (Source: JD.com)

Meitu’s entrance into the beauty devices market is designed to make the brand appeal to beauty-conscious consumers and elevate its presence in the lucrative Chinese skincare market.

This move follows the release of a smartphone by Meitu which caters to selfie enthusiasts; the launch of a social feed on the Meitu selfie app which enables photo sharing; and a shopping app that recommends beauty products after analysing a user’s skin type.

This extension to new areas by Meitu makes sense as it can be hard to monetise just one application. This is especially precarious considering how fickle app users in China can be—filters are a very specific aesthetic which won’t remain on-trend forever.

As Meitu is fundamentally a tech company, it has struggled to work out what its beauty-conscious users may want besides an app. Selfies are an integral part of the social media landscape in China, but filters will never match looking good in real life.

As such, its move into the beauty devices market has potential, especially as facial cleansing devices are growing in popularity. Moreover, consumers are willing to spend more on facial care than ever before as Mintel research reveals that nearly half of Chinese beauty consumers who have purchased a prestige facial skincare product said that they did so because it made them more confident.

What’s next

Skincare products will converge more with the selfie culture by promising effects that will look good in real life and even better on pictures. Technology will be incorporated more into consumers’ daily beauty routines to provide a customised experience, including 3D-printed face masks, facial massagers and personal skin scanners. Given the relatively high price tag, manufacturers should clearly communicate the long-term benefits of using such products and position devices as an investment.