Insights on Housecall Beauty Services in Singapore, India, and Hong Kong

It’s hard to think of a time when we didn’t have the option of getting a pedicure at the click of a button. Whether it’s the issue of not being able to get an appointment at a preferred time at the parlor, having a deadline at work, or just being plain lazy to step outside of your home, the value added by on-demand beauty services is endless. Despite the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in several countries, the safety aspect has become more critical than ever, which has added to the popularity of housecall beauty applications.

Across Southeast Asia, men and women alike opt for their various beauty and wellness needs to be addressed from the comfort of their own homes instead of visiting parlors like they previously did. The standardization of services, economical prices, and instant delivery are major factors that appeal to these consumers.

Looking at the word cloud data of the most used words in Instagram posts across all brands, we noticed a cluster of words relating to the convenience offered by at-home beauty brands, such as “home visit massage,” “workplace massage,” and “home services.” This highlights the fact that companies frequently communicate to customers online about the ease and benefits of home salon services as compared to physically visiting parlors.

We also observed the usage of phrases relating to the benefits of the services themselves, such as “improve blood circulation” and “much stress,” which shows how brands (in particular those offering massage services) position their offerings with a focus on the potential health benefits.

In addition, our AI detected direct call-to-action phrases in our word cloud. Terms such as “hurry,” “whatsapp us,” and “dm us” not only compel users to book the service at the click of a button, but create a sense of urgency for the consumer to avail of the ongoing offers or discounts.

On this note, housecall beauty services’ adoption of a text-based communication system possibly is an advantage over in-store services, as clients are saved from the frustration of being put on hold on the phone, and ringing without getting their calls answered during peak periods. It is hence a more pleasant experience to book on-demand housecall services through their respective platforms, being able to choose their own slots without the hassle of a middleman.

Results from our Emotion AI model

We also ran brand posts through our emotion analysis models, and the top 5 emotions we detected were those of Affiliation, Happiness, Affection, Creativity, and Sensuality.

What exactly are the primary communication cues of housecall beauty brands online, and how do they differ across regions? We analyzed the Instagram handles of 20 brands in Singapore, India, and Hong Kong to understand their messaging and style with the help of our Culture AI tools.

Communication cues for a mature audience

As a market that is saturated with beauty booking service platforms, Singapore’s beauty industry is fast-growing with varied offerings available to customers. With 67% of the country’s population actively visiting spas, the opportunities for established as well as emerging brands to position themselves are endless. We investigated social media posts of companies such as Tan at Home, the Urban Company, and the Big Blow to know more about how they communicate with Singaporeans.

Testimonial-focused messaging

Singaporean consumers accord word of mouth reviews (whether verbal or textual) of their friends, family, and favorite Instagram lifestyle influencers a lot. As such, brands include reviews and customer testimonials on their platform to signal that their products have been accepted and loved by others, in order to establish trust amongst consumers because of their unbiased and honest assessment of products and services.

For this reason, testimonials tend to be more reliable for audiences as compared to other forms of marketing. Posts from housecall beauty apps such as Vanitee focus on the quality of customer experiences while engaging in beautician services and also highlight aspects like affordability and convenience.

Targeting special occasions

On-demand beauty brands in Singapore have a lot of social media messaging centered around getting a pampering session for special occasions such as weddings, bridal showers, and birthdays, tying in their services with the idea of reward and self-gifting.

As a community that is very outgoing and social, Singaporeans enjoy dressing up for recreational events and gatherings, which is why brands such as the Big Blow that focus on hair braiding offer related packages and discounts. The targeted messaging adds an extra push for customers to book their beautification services for their big day.

Science-backed information and fun facts

Our AI topic extraction tool deciphered that the topic most spoken about in posts by Singaporean beauty brands is science. As a highly educated consumer population, Singaporean consumers can be easily skeptical of a brand’s reliability if insufficient “authentic proof” is shown.

In a mature market like Singapore, consumers have access to various housecall beauty platforms, each offering different services ranging from haircuts to massages. With a lot of the communication and captions focused on fun facts about the body and beauty-related tips given by professionals, and visual cues similarly complementary, pastel or neutral, it also becomes all the more important for brands to differentiate and educate customers about the benefits and uniqueness of their offerings.

Creating a messaging style for a price-sensitive audience

As the world’s second most populated country, it comes as no surprise that India is the global emerging beauty giant. Indian consumers, primarily youths under the age of 30 and the rising middle class, are, in general, conscious of their bodies and self-image. Besides having a ripe market to capture, on-demand beauty brands in India have the added advantage of growing internet and smartphone access among users in urban and rural areas. Given the market’s high potential and the increasing purchasing power of consumers, our AI examined local brands’ primary communication cues.

Direct call to action

Since the Indian consumer has a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to their beauty needs, brands resort to more direct marketing when they try to persuade customers to book services. Transparent messaging such as “book now to avail the offer,” “DM us to book,” and “visit our website” is commonly seen in social media posts in an effort to encourage an impulsive purchase. The usage of this kind of straightforward communication also puts light on the price-sensitive consumer-type targeted as they are more likely to respond to non-descriptive, to-the-point messaging.

Leveraging influencer marketing

India’s influencer market is estimated to be $75–150 million a year. Brands are increasingly resorting to this form of marketing as it offers reliability and credibility as compared to traditional forms of advertising. On-demand platforms such as Belita and Yes Madam often collaborate with beauty bloggers and influencers who can promote their services and give customers relevant beautification tips. Not only does this method increase trustworthiness about the brand amongst customers, but it also has higher chances of conversions for the company.

Catering to a conventional audience

The beauty industry in Hong Kong scaled in a very short period of time from having smaller boutique chains to eventually having established brands and is, today, one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. Asians in Hong Kong increasingly care about their appearance, and the existence of numerous facial care, body care, and make-up services has elevated their need to look good. Beautification has become a daily ritual, almost like an errand that Hong Kongers must engage in. Brand communication by local companies is, therefore, mostly direct and straightforward.

Non-descriptive messaging

Social media posts of companies in Hong Kong embody brief, to-the-point captions. Whether it involves communicating about the type of service offerings, beauty-related tips, or customer testimonials- housecall beauty companies are leveraging the fact that beauty services are a necessity for consumers. Because of the service’s essential nature, brands do not find the need to excessively push and convince users to book through their platforms via detailed information in their captions.

An elevated focus on safety

The Covid-19 pandemic created a sense of paranoia when it came to visiting public places and attending large gatherings. One of the most significant benefits offered by on-demand services is the home visit by beauticians that limits the exposure customers may have had if they visited salons instead. Brands realize that the aspect of safety is the most important to Hong Kongers, which is why they frequently highlight factors such as social distancing, sanitization, and hygiene in their communication.

For the detailed report, get in touch with us at anurag.banerjee@quilt.ai