Hit Habit Forecast: “Try it” filters

Jul. 7, 2020
  • Viewpoints

Hit Habit Forecast is a regular column of the Hit Habit Makers, a group of young planners at Hakuhodo HQ that gamely stood up to say they were going to create hit habits—not hit products—as consumption shifts from purchasing things to purchasing experiences.
Analyzing social media accounts and purchasing data of highly sophisticated users and conducting analysis on popular articles, etc. in a variety of media that have their fingers on the pulse of social trends: this is the bold, new challenge of forecasting hit habits that are about to break.

Hello. I’m Hikaru Uetsuki of the Hit Habit Makers.

In this edition, I’d like to discuss “try it” filters, a tip that could also help with upping your grooming game. These are filter functions on camera apps that allow you “try on” makeup looks, etc., to see if they suit you.

Camera functions are built into smartphones, but besides those, there are various apps specifically to help users take tastier food photos, beautify themselves, and the like. Among young people, in particular, these are some of the most used apps after social media and video sharing apps, with such users installing an average of 2.7 camera apps.

Source: Survey of What’s on the Smartphones of Women Aged Around 20 (2019), SHIBUYA109 Lab


People in this age bracket have been installing multiple camera apps and using them exclusively to take photos of different settings (daytime, night, etc.) and subjects (people, food, scenery, etc.). But their purpose in using these was always to take great pictures (that pop).

Today, however, they are using them not to take pictures, but to see if makeup, etc. suits them (i.e. to try it on) by checking how they look through the filter.

The easiest example to understand is makeup.

With eye-popping names like the Chinese-style “Chaiborg” and “Landmine makeup,” which gives the impression the wearer has cried her eyes out, makeup trends are changing dynamically. Getting all the right tools and going to the makeup counter to try each look as it emerges is a lot of hard work. But by using their camera app’s selfie filter, they can quickly gauge if a style will suit them or not. They can easily try a style out because it doesn’t cost them any time or money.

There are also options for hairstyles and facial hair.

It takes time to grow your hair or facial hair and, for some, cutting their hair short in one go is a leap of faith. But using a filter, they can check how the end result will look. While they could ask those around them for advice, some don’t feel comfortable asking, so being able to do it themselves is likely to be a huge benefit for them.

So why are try it filters evolving and proving so popular? There seem to be two main reasons.

First is the rapid changing of trends. Starting with makeup, trends are changing at lightning speed, so the process of trial and error needs to happen much more rapidly now. It is likely that the idea of trying styles out using digital technology emerged because it’s no longer possible to keep up using the old analog ways.

Second is their ease. Using filters doesn’t take effort, money or time. While there are some paid apps, many are free, and the filters can be used just by holding the selfie camera up, so they can be used by anyone, anywhere, any time. This is likely one of the reasons they are used by so many.

Finally, let’s consider some of the business opportunities that try it filters offer.

Examples of try it filter business opportunities
■ Introducing a nail filter on a nail app to allow users to project their favorite nail designs onto their nails to see if they suit their face or outfit.
■ Electronics manufacturers releasing health check apps that change the shape of a person’s face and body in line with the entered weight loss or gain.
■ E-commerce sites developing tools to allow users to digitally try on the clothing and earrings they select.
To name just a few.

I learned about try it filters recently, myself, and was shocked at how detailed they are. Since the latest technology produces such good results, I even wondered whether people would think you were actually wearing the makeup if you took a photograph. The apps are really easy to use, so I recommend you all give them a go.


Hikaru Uetsuki
Member of the Hit Habit Makers
Integrated Planning & Creative Division
Hakuhodo Inc.
Hikaru Uetsuki joined Hakuhodo in 2017. In her fourth year in marketing, she is working hard to realize her dream of creating new trends in society while being buffeted by the tides of that same society. The melancholy summer experience she hopes to have in the near future is to walk along, sharing an ice-cream.
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