How the beauty industry has proven to be more resilient than we realised

There was a time when beauty was considered something of a luxury – products you bought for a special occasion. Not any more.

Today, beauty is about giving people the means to express themselves. Thanks to social media, digital access and huge volumes of online content, the beauty industry has been transformed. Consumers are doing their research to discover product ingredients, trending items, and the latest skincare regimes. Through this research they are also starting to explore the worlds of D2C brands, digital shopping platforms, beauty tech, and VR.

Millennials and Gen Zers are leading this change and have turned the industry on its head over the past few years.

But just when the industry was poised to undergo a massive transformation, the pandemic hit. And this was when things started to get really interesting…

Covid-19 created a new normal for the beauty industry. Skincare, haircare, body health, hygiene and safety have all grown in importance as self-care and at-home pampering took centre stage. With access to beauty stores limited, DIY and home care remedies became the norm. And thanks to mask-wearing, the sale of eye make-up also shot up.

There was a drop in makeup sales, but this is not expected to last. What is predicted to stick, however, is the focus on skincare, haircare and bodycare.

Customer behaviour also changed. Consumers want more ease and convenience from their shopping experiences and to be able to discover, evaluate and purchase products online. This quest for greater personalisation is driving more customers to use virtual try-on tools, video consultations, WhatsApp shopping and home delivery.

Expectations around delivery have also shifted, with fast, cheap, direct to consumers’ doors being seen as must-haves rather than nice-to-haves.

Consumers are increasingly looking for affordability and value for money. Many feel unsure what the future holds in terms of employment. Potential job losses and a decline in disposable income are creating an uncertain future.

As a result, products and brands in the mass and masstige markets will be well placed in the coming months – especially if they are able to deliver superior ingredients, product performance, and efficacy. There has also been a rise in the number of skin minimalism and multipurpose products available at affordable prices.

No one can deny the economic impact Covid has had on the entire retail sector. However, the signs suggest the beauty industry may be more resistant to the magnitude of lockdowns, restrictions and the emergence of the new normal than many of us suspected.

There have been signs of recovery within bricks and mortar stores. Even with digital transformation happening alongside, physical retail spaces are still looking strong. This is down to a number of reasons, one being that millennials and Gen Z are very particular about their beauty needs. Many want to buy products in stores where they can hold, smell and trial products before they make a purchase. 

There’s also the fact that consumers in general have been keen to get back onto the high street. Needless to say, the beauty industry is hoping to maximise on this resurgence and certainly won’t go down without a fight.

One way they are preparing themselves for that battle is through technology. By using tech to deliver data and enrich insights, beauty retailers are able to better understand what customers want from their retail experience.

Today’s consumers want to know more about the products they are buying and the ethics and identity of the brands behind those products. They want the items they buy to reflect who they are. Specifically, they want things like sustainability, inclusivity, adaptability, empathy, and relevance placed high on the agenda.

At The Delta Group, we help beauty brands and retailers show they have purpose, offer value for money, and are prioritising the environment and society. Get in touch with the team today to find out how we can help your business showcase your sustainability and purpose.

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