Beyond the salon, Metaverse Nails creates “wearable holograms” with press-on nails that come to life in augmented reality through an app. Metaverse, which launched in 2015, has partnered with artists and designers to create collections of truly next-level nail art. In Singapore, Exquisite Nails is testing 3D-printed designs that affix to customer’s nails, hoping to spur new business through the unique and personalized experience.
Nail care already occupies a healthy corner of the beauty market. According to research group Mintel, the US nail care market is poised for an upswing, expected to be worth $2 billion by 2020. Globally, the market could be worth as much as $9 billion by 2019, according to Technavio, driven by the 91% of girls between the ages of nine and 17 that use nail products.
“The popularity of YouTube vloggers may increase interest in elaborate nail styles, as vloggers such as Cristine Rote showcase tutorials on more complex nail styles, encouraging women to try these styles themselves at home,” Margie Nanninga, a beauty analyst at Mintel, told the Innovation Group over email. “Apps can definitely help drive interest, particularly those that help women to find new colors or matching apps that allow them to match a nail polish to an outfit they’re wearing for a special occasion or event. Technology will also increasingly be used to create custom nail colors, allowing women to create their ideal shade.”
Tech-infused nails can even serve practical purposes. Last summer, a UK design student created a set of stick-on nails with an embedded chip that connected to London’s Oyster card, allowing the wearer to swipe in and out of the subway system. As embedded technology becomes more advanced, RFID nail chips could also be used for contactless payments, or to control other devices.
High-tech tools are a natural fit for the nail care sector, with its large gen Z and millennial consumer base. Nail tech could catch on quickly among this group, which is already eager for new creative tools to enhance their designs on Instagram and Snapchat.
For more, see #57 (New Nails) and #52 (Beauty tech) in our Future 100 report on trends to watch in 2017.