1) We’re all experimenting more: The digital experience
We’ve been deprived access to our usual beauty services; hairdressers, barbers, nail salons and skin specialists. “We still want to look great but now we’re in charge and it’s causing us to panic,” commented one. YouTube vlogs and Instagram Live are teaching us how to remove gel nails, blow dry our own hair, and, trial the latest make up trends we were afraid to do pre-COVID-19. In fact, lockdown is proving the best time to experiment; there’s no reputational impact if things go wrong.
New at-home rituals have led to online sales in the beauty category rising by almost 140% in the first week of April (InternetRetailing) and increased YOY sales of prestige nail products of 24%.
2) We’re supporting the small brands: The rise of small community
Many of us are supporting smaller direct to consumer brands and entrepreneurs. One interviewee said, “Kylie Jenner won’t miss a £50 order, but a smaller business will”. The EY Future Consumer Index supports this insight by reporting that 57% of people will spend more on brands that support the community. Subscription-based beauty services such as Beauty Pie and Glossy Box as well as more niche affordable brands like The Ordinary and Brand Ivvici proved popular with my young focus group.
I believe that winning beauty brands, both gigantean and small, will demonstrate value to their consumers, beyond monetary, and deliver more exciting and more personal, online shopping experiences.
3) We’re being micro-influenced like never before: Influencers open up commerce opportunities
So as to not be forgotten, many in the beauty service industry are connecting with their customers by becoming micro-influencers, holding virtual classes and 1-2-1 consultations. We see a big opportunity for brands to get in on this action by connecting new-era influencers with more commerce moments, specifically through social commerce, commerce generated through social channels, which has jumped by 110% in the last two years alone. US-based Huda Beauty, recognising the power of the micro-influencer and their lack of income at this time, gave away $100,000 to 100 make-up artists; $1,000 each via their social channels.
4) We’re taking self-care seriously: A new emotional need
We all want to practice a little self-care. This is probably down to “The Lipstick Effect”, a theory coined by Professor Juliet Shor back in 1999 who offered up that when times get tight, people continue to indulge in little luxuries for an emotional lift. Since mid-March, Google searches for "self-care" have spiked to record highs worldwide. Brands are tapping into this behaviour. Lush for one is offering "Bath time beats", an evening chill-out session with bath bombs.
5) We’re turning to Amazon: A new platform trial
Deterred by long queues or perhaps even being seen making a non-essential purchase, many of us who had never shopped Amazon for beauty or skincare are tapping in because of their fast delivery times. Small surprise that Amazon has reported a 7-10% increase in beauty purchases. Interestingly, consumers are 50% more likely to try a new brand each time they switch to a new channel, offering a new opportunity for beauty brands to attract new consumers and re-establish relationships with lapsed ones.