By Thierry Malleret, economist

The Big Tech companies, such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, are now using data and augmented reality to enter the retail beauty market, aiming to disrupt the bricks-and-mortar stores that currently dominate this massive industry.

What’s happening?

Amazon already owns 20 percent of the online retail beauty market but is aiming to expand further with the recent launch of a line of low-priced, private-label personal care products, such as face washes and shaving creams.

Apple is partnering with developers on augmented reality apps that let iPhone and iPad users try on makeup at home.

Google just partnered with Sephora (the high street makeup retailer), offering Google Home users the opportunity to do everything from book treatments at Sephora to taking beauty quizzes. It is also leveraging the beauty influencer’s community (whose videos on YouTube get millions of views) by partnering with traditional beauty brands like Neutrogena.

Facebook, for its part, is experimenting with beauty bots that chat with customers on Messenger and using augmented reality with customers “trying on” products to see what they look like.

The trend in favor of healthier drinks is clear. Over the past five years, bottled water has been the fastest growing soft drink, both in the U.S. and Western Europe.

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