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After a tough 2020, most businesses saw a revival, some movement, and an upswing in the first quarter of 2021. To gain an insight into how the beauty business has fared over the past six months, IANSlife caught up with Mrunmay Mehta, Head, Beauty and Luxury Beauty at Amazon India.
As most cities begin curfews and lockdowns once again, will there be a slump or rise in demand for beauty products? What are the beauty trends we can try at home and which grooming tools are a must-have? To get more details., read on:
Q: What has the sale of beauty products on Amazon Beauty been like in the last 6 months? Which products have seen the highest demand?
A: We have observed that customers are looking for ways to stay engaged at home through self-pampering, spending time on grooming, and experimenting with makeup. The eye category has seen maximum acceleration followed by the lips category. The premium beauty business is recovering at a faster pace and continues to accelerate online. The perfume category is also witnessing an increase in demand among customers.
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These categories will continue to accelerate online, given increased customer adoption of online as a buying channel in the new normal we live in. In the last six months, we have witnessed a surge in demand for beauty products such as eye-makeup, matte and transfer-proof lipsticks, skincare, and beauty tools and accessories on our platform.
Q: Bollywood and beauty — what’s the impact and why isn’t Amazon Beauty part of the trajectory?
A: Customers today are inspired by not just Bollywood but in fact a lot more by so many digital platforms, influencers, and social media. Fashion and beauty trends have been influenced by films for the longest time. Even today, this is largely evident in customers across markets including tier-2 and tier-3 cities. In early 2020, we collaborated with Filmfare as the title sponsor of the 65th edition of Filmfare Awards to bring alive the connection between entertainment, fashion, and beauty. Besides, we also created a storefront to leverage the make-up looks of the characters from the ‘Bandish Bandits’ web series on Prime Video.
At Amazon, we also have a large affiliates program, where influencers can host their page on Amazon and direct traffic to it through their channels. Lastly, Amazon overall has multiple channels of customer engagement and acquisition across customer touchpoints such as FoundIt and Fashion Influencer Program, from which we continue to see a rapid increase in our customer base for beauty as well.
Q: What are the biggest beauty trends for 2021?
A: As the world lives with the pandemic, customers are looking to stay engaged at home through self-pampering, spending time on grooming, and experimenting with make-up. The make-up and premium beauty business had taken a momentary pause in March 2020 but has slowly recovered to its pre-Covid performance with the advent of video conference calls. Highlighting some broad trends, we’re witnessing on Amazon Beauty over the past six months:
* Revival of Makeup: With eyes becoming the new lips, within make-up, the eye category has seen maximum acceleration. Brands have quickly aligned themselves to innovate in the lips category by moving from gloss and shine lipsticks to promoting matte (transfer-proof and smudge-proof) lipsticks, tinted lip balms and tint this season, only to stay in line with the new norms– they can be worn with face masks.
* See the Rainbow: There is an emergence of joyful colors, be it on the lips, eyes, or the cheek. While minimalism as a trend continues, products will be used to add a dash of color to the eyes (yellow, blue, pink, etc.)
* Natural Effortless Glam: A naturally glamorous and glowing face has made a comeback. Customers are now doubling down on highlighters and bronzers that offer a glowing face coupled with dramatic lashes and blushed cheeks.
* Clean Beauty: Today, customers are mindful of product ingredients and formulations. With people spending more time and research on their beauty routines, there has been a distinct rise in the adoption of natural, organic, and plant-based skincare and haircare as well as natural makeup products.
* Salon at Home: With customers facing limitations in visiting salons, the focus on professional skincare and haircare products has multiplied. We are seeing a surge in demand for professional brands on Amazon Beauty which were only popular with salons earlier.
Q: How has Amazon Beauty integrated technology on its platform, how has the customer’s approach been towards using it?
A: Amazon Beauty has rolled out a feature called ‘Virtual Try-On (VTO)’, which allows customers to try on color cosmetics virtually. Customers can either use a photograph stored in their phones or one of the pre-loaded model faces or even a live camera (android only at present) to use this feature. The visual nature of this feature allows the user to test color cosmetics and see how it will look on their skin virtually, bridging the gap between the offline and online buying experience and making shopping effortless on Amazon Beauty. Lakhs of customers have tried VTO and we see a higher purchase intent from customers who interact with it.
Q: Skincare being the new make-up, what are the highest selling products currently?
A: During the pandemic, we have observed the epicenter of beauty shift from make-up to skincare. With the limited choice of stepping out and the consequent rise of work from home culture, people began to pay attention to their cleansing, toning, and moisturizing (CTM) regimen more religiously, leading to a double-digit spike on our platform especially within the product range of night creams, sunscreen, face oils and face serums.
Customer’s consumption habits slowly drifted towards products that offer several benefits and uses. They also opted for double duty make-up products like a lip tint, which can be used both on lips and cheeks as a blush, or tinted sunscreens and moisturizers for both SPF protection and light coverage. Beauty tools and accessories too saw a double-digit spike as the demand for products such as makeup tools, facial massager, gua sha stone, and jade roller surged.
Q: 5 must-have beauty products available on Amazon Beauty
A: Amazon Beauty offers India’s widest selection of beauty trends products and brands, ranging from luxury beauty to everyday essentials, attracting new customers every day. We house 30,000 plus brands and 12 lakh plus products for customers to choose from across categories such as skincare, haircare, make-up, fragrance, natural remedies, men’s grooming, among others. Here are 5 must-have beauty essentials for everyday use available on Amazon Beauty:
*Lightweight moisturizers, Mattifying sunscreens, Transfer proof lipsticks, Long-lasting perfumes (IANS/SP)
Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for lifesaving transplants.
Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.
Surgeons attached the pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient so they could observe it for two days. The kidney did what it was supposed to do — filter waste and produce urine — and didn't trigger rejection.
"It had absolutely normal function," said Dr. Robert Montgomery, who led the surgical team last month at NYU Langone Health in New York. "It didn't have this immediate rejection that we have worried about."
This research is "a significant step," said Dr. Andrew Adams of the University of Minnesota Medical School, who was not part of the work. It will reassure patients, researchers and regulators "that we're moving in the right direction."
The dream of animal-to-human transplants, or xenotransplantation, dates to the 17th century with stumbling attempts to use animal blood for transfusions. By the 20th century, surgeons were attempting transplants of organs from baboons into humans, notably Baby Fae, a dying infant, who lived 21 days with a baboon heart.
With no lasting success and much public uproar, scientists turned from primates to pigs, tinkering with their genes to bridge the species gap.
Pigs have advantages over monkeys and apes. They are produced for food, so using them for organs raises fewer ethical concerns. Pigs have large litters, short gestation periods and organs comparable to those of humans.
Pig heart valves also have been used successfully for decades in humans. The blood thinner heparin is derived from pig intestines. Pig skin grafts are used on burns, and Chinese surgeons have used pig corneas to restore sight.
Kidney ready for transplantation from a live donor Image credit: wikimedia commons
In the NYU case, researchers kept a deceased woman's body on a ventilator after her family agreed to the experiment. The woman had wished to donate her organs, but they weren't suitable for traditional donation.
'Good could come from this'
The family felt "there was a possibility that some good could come from this gift," Montgomery said.
Montgomery himself received a transplant three years ago, a human heart from a donor with hepatitis C because he was willing to take any organ.
"I was one of those people lying in an ICU waiting and not knowing whether an organ was going to come in time," he said.
Several biotech companies are in the running to develop suitable pig organs for transplant to help ease the human organ shortage. More than 90,000 people in the U.S. are in line for kidney transplants. Every day, 12 die while waiting.
The advance is a win for Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, the company that engineered the pig and its cousins, a herd of 100 raised in tightly controlled conditions at a facility in Iowa.
The pigs lack a gene that produces alpha-gal, the sugar that provokes an immediate attack from the human immune system.
In December, the Food and Drug Administration approved the gene alteration in the Revivicor pigs as safe for human food consumption and medicine.
But the FDA said developers would need to submit more paperwork before pig organs could be transplanted into living humans.
"This is an important step forward in realizing the promise of xenotransplantation, which will save thousands of lives each year in the not-too-distant future," said United Therapeutics CEO Martine Rothblatt in a statement.
Experts say tests on nonhuman primates and last month's experiment with a human body pave the way for the first experimental pig kidney or heart transplants in living people in the next several years.
Raising pigs to be organ donors feels wrong to some people, but it may grow more acceptable if concerns about animal welfare can be addressed, said Karen Maschke, a research scholar at the Hastings Center, who will help develop ethics and policy recommendations for the first clinical trials under a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
"The other issue is going to be: Should we be doing this just because we can?" Maschke said. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Transplant, Pig, Human, Kidney, FDA
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Developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, a Decision Support System (DSS) that extends the ability of the existing air quality early warning system (AQEWS) to have decision-making capability for air quality management in Delhi-NCR was launched on Tuesday.
The website for the DSS (https://ews.tropmet.res.in/dss/) is designed to help the Commission for Air Quality Management for NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) by delivering quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and its 19 surrounding districts; the contribution of emissions from eight different sectors in Delhi; and the contribution from biomass-burning activities in the neighbouring states.
These information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner, a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.
The need was stated by the CAQM, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during a meeting held in January 2021.
Recently, the Commission reviewed the progress made by IITM and had in principle approved the current version of DSS for air quality management in the Delhi-NCR. The IITM has also developed a new website for DSS with the entire system made operational, the release said.
Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while launching the website for AQEWS on the occasion of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' week organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, "DSS is a significant contribution to 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' on behalf of MoES and IITM and suggestions are invited on this issue."
The website also has a feature whereby the users can create their own emission reduction scenarios (from 20 different districts, including Delhi) so as to examine the possible projected improvement in air quality in Delhi for the next five days.
"This information would explicitly highlight the most important emission sources responsible for the degradation of air quality in Delhi and suggest possible solutions to ameliorate the same. With a plethora of quantitative data, the AQEWS integrated with DSS could become a user-friendly tool for air-quality management in and around Delhi," the release said. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Delhi, India, Pollution, IITM, Ministry of Earth Sciences
On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020. Apart from senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, representatives of various organisations associated with the Sangh Parivar -- working in the field of education -- were present in the meeting in New Delhi.
According to sources, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who attended the meeting on behalf of the government, shared information related to the National Education Policy-2020 and the government's policy on important issues related to the education sector. Pradhan also shared details of the efforts being made by the government in the field of education.
Discussions were also held regarding the impact of the situation arising out of Corona and how much it has affected the education sector. In the meeting, the RSS leaders asked several questions and provided suggestions to the Union Minister regarding the education policy of the government.
According to the sources, RSS wants the policy to be implemented expeditiously. All aspects related to the policy were discussed in Tuesday's meeting. On the second and the last day of the meeting on Wednesday, special issues related to education will be discussed in which representatives of various organisations of the Sangh, Union Ministers and several BJP leaders will be take part.
Meanwhile, in order to convey its point of view to the government on various issues, the Sangh keeps on calling such coordination meetings related to specific issues, in which RSS representatives -- working in that particular area -- provide feedback to the government. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: BJP, RSS, New Education Policy, Education, India