• Winners and Losers in the Beauty Industry – Covid-19

    Posted on 03-11-20 by Jack Woolsey

    Our world has changed more than anyone could have predicted over the last year. Rather than planning our office Christmas parties and what activities we’ll get up to in the holidays, we’re all facing the bleak reality that it’s not going to be the Winter we’d all hoped for.

    Having worked within the Beauty industry for over 4 years now, I have seen huge changes in consumer behaviour in 2020. With some previously strong outlets handcuffed by forced retail closures and the majority of us confined to our homes, the beauty products we buy and how we buy them has changed dramatically.

    Soap & Sanitizers

    Let’s start with the obvious winners. As most could guess based on the empty supermarket shelves and the amount of people who were willing to sell their nan for the last hand sanitizer, there was a huge growth in the hand washing market. Obviously, this was spurred on by the huge government initiative at the start of the pandemic when the Happy Birthday song was heard daily rather than exclusively at parties.

    At the start of the pandemic, sales of hand sanitizer increased by +255% while other liquid soaps increased by +7%.

    Many small businesses such as Pai Skincare and Future Beauty Labs, quickly changed their manufacturing to focus on hand sanitisers. This clearly demonstrated the positives of working within a small dynamic company where your processes can change overnight when needed.

    Bricks & Mortar Vs Online

    Unsurprisingly the high street has seen the brunt of the pandemic, having been in a steady decline for a while. As well as being forced to shut for a number of months, consumers are less likely to opt for a department store to buy their beauty products since their business model is largely based on the ability to try before you buy using testers and conversing with sales assistants, both of which aren’t exactly Covid friendly.

    The Beauty industry as a whole is down by 9%. One of the biggest declines is with Boots which has seen a drastic decline of 44%. In comparison, Look Fantastic has seen an increase of 57% YOY.

    Selfridges have recently cut 4500 jobs across the UK and John Lewis announced that for the first time since 1953, they will not issue employee bonus’s this year. From my recent experience, most businesses are focussing on employing into the online channel rather than traditional retail. 100% of the roles I have recruited recently have centred around online account management or Digital Marketing as pure players become the saving grace for most companies.

    Skincare VS Cosmetics

    With many of us working from home, and ‘dress up’ worthy outings and events cancelled, make-up sales are in decline. Many are taking the opportunity to look after their natural complexion by giving their skin a break from heavy foundation and lippy. In comparison, the skincare market has continued to see an uplift.

    Research from FOREO reported that 96% of consumers would rather invest in skincare instead of make-up during coronavirus.

    Mandatory mask wearing has brought with it a new word – ‘Maskne’. ‘Maskne’ can be defined as any form of facial acne or skin irritation from face coverings, such as masks and face shields. As there is no sign of this requirement changing in the near future, we can expect skincare to continue to grow, with SME multi-use skincare brand Dr Lipp reporting substantial growth over the last year.

    Professional Beauty

    Those hardest hit are probably within the professional beauty industry, with millions of businesses forced to shut and left forgotten, even after restaurants and bars were given the go ahead. To make this worse, many of these are small businesses who rely on week to week sales. In reaction to this, consumers took treatments into their own hands, boosting the DIY nail market and hair dyes.

    A survey conducted by Simply Business suggests that the pandemic will cost small businesses in the beauty industry £9,282 each on average with a third concerned over closing for good.

    As a reaction to the decline in professional beauty, I have unfortunately seen a huge uplift in redundancies from area managers calling on salons and spas, as well as those managing wholesale accounts such as Sally’s.

    Personally, I recruit mid-Senior level opportunities in the Health and Beauty industry across the sales, marketing and digital sectors. If you would like to discuss anything mentioned in this post further or have anything to add please get in touch. In addition, if you would like any advice or support in recruiting your next team member please email me at hannah.bulmer@ceselection.com.

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